Tell us what you believe.
Dear Gov. Walker,
The AP quoted you as saying that your position on same-sex marriage is irrelevant: "My position has been clear. I voted in the past. It doesn't really matter."
You do realize that you are the governor of our state, right? Historically the governor's position on all matters of public interest is of import to the citizenry. As the highest elected official in our state, you are in a position of power where your words and opinions carry weight. Saying that your position does not matter is, in the vernacular of rural Wisconsin, bullshit.
If you are still adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage, as evidenced by your past votes, then we the people have the right to know where you stand now. The vote on the constitutional amendment was eight years ago, and your position may have evolved just as many other politicians' opinions have evolved. You were not afraid of expressing your viewpoint when 59% of the population agreed with you on the issue. Why should you be afraid to do so now when 55% of the population disagrees with you? To me this seems like a spineless attempt to maintain your base and not lose those votes in the upcoming election.
Staying silent also indicates that you are trying not to lose possible swing votes from independents and the handful of Democrats who may like some of your other policies. But being governor is not about the next election. It is about leading now. The people want leaders in power, not those who look for the latest trends and then follow along. We want someone who lets us know how he feels about every issue without equivocating or wavering.
If you are strongly morally opposed to same-sex marriage, that is your right. Tell us. Tell us what you believe. If you had a backbone, then you would speak about the issue and state your opinions proudly. I have always stood my ground on issues that are important to me. Perhaps this is why I am not a politician.
You may say the issue is unimportant to you, but again, that would be dodging the issue. It is clearly important to the citizens of this state since the federal judge's ruling on June 6. As the governor it is incumbent upon you to tell us where you truly stand. In this state you can't straddle both sides of a farm fence without catching yourself on barbed wire.
Callen Harty is a resident of Monona. He publishes A Single Bluebird, and the original version of this letter was published here. "Citizen" is an opinion series that presents the views of the author. If you would like to reply, please comment or consider submitting an op-ed in response.