Add the following to Frank Bures' opinion column, 'Why Fair Wisconsin Lost' (11/17/06): Just as people abstained from voting for Kathleen Falk out of anger for her challenging Peg Lautenschlager for attorney general, so did folks abstain from voting no on the marriage ban out of anger for the way Fair Wisconsin's leadership convinced a critical number of county supervisors to oppose putting the Bring the Troops Home referendum on the ballot.
It was a stupid move. Fair Wisconsin was hoping that enough people in Dane County would vote against the ban to offset the rest of the state. Why, then, would they meddle in efforts by other progressive groups?
I did vote against the ban, feeling the issue was too important to ignore. But I did nothing to help Fair Wisconsin. And I will remember the supes who caved in to such a ridiculous notion when election time comes around again. After all, important though the right to marry whoever you love is, there is hardly anything more important than to end the carnage in Iraq and prevent another one in Iran.
I too was a volunteer with Fair Wisconsin. Probably all of us would have liked to take the passionate gay human rights approach that Bures describes. But would that have won us more votes? I don't think so. There are plenty of people like the gentleman I spoke to on the phone who made it clear he didn't care about gay people's rights. He only said he might leave the ballot blank when I mentioned the potential effect on retirees.
This brings us to Arizona. I used to live in Phoenix. What I saw there was open, unapologetic hatred of homosexuals. Even my high school teachers were openly homophobic. So no one was more shocked than I was when Arizona defeated its gay-marriage ban and Wisconsin didn't.
After the election I called friends in Arizona. Their explanation for the results? Sun City. How the gay-marriage ban would affect the seniors and retirees who flock to Arizona had a big impact on the vote. If anything, the Arizona anti-amendment campaign emphasized the 'collateral damage' issue more than Fair Wisconsin.
I was disheartened by the approval of the ban, and I agree that there is no silver lining. But I don't think Fair Wisconsin's strategies were at fault. I think we just lost to deeply entrenched prejudice.
The bishop as CEO
I disagree with Sarah Roberts' criticism of Bishop Morlino's message to area priests (Letters, 11/17/06). Bishop Morlino's letter is no more disturbing than any other memorandum from a CEO to his employees. The beliefs of the Catholic Church are all too often seen as a buffet from which you only need to choose your favorites.
This is unfortunate. If you don't like the beliefs of the Catholic Church, don't become a Catholic and certainly don't become a priest.
We need strong, unified leadership to lead us, not rogue priests and laity teaching their own watered-down version of church doctrine.
As to the bishop serving on the board of overseers of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as the School of the Americas), the board's job is to hold the school accountable and report problems to Congress. Roberts should not infer that the bishop is promoting torture and murder.
Theresa Bernstein, Brodhead