Dear Tell All: I was disheartened when the Senate recently voted against taking up the bill that would repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Yet again, gays and lesbians have to twiddle their thumbs while the United States decides whether to grant us normal civil rights.
I'm ready to throw up my hands and admit that this country will never consider gays and lesbians real people. It's been especially hard to live here in Wisconsin since the state voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2006.
Maybe it's time to move to a more enlightened country.
Dear (Not Really a) Second-Class Citizen: You're seeing the glass as half-empty - and I admit that's a valid thing to do, given the snail-like pace of gay civil rights in the United States. But I prefer to focus on the positive, since the alternative is really heavy drinking.
Yes, it's a drag about Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but it's possible Congress will take up the issue again later this year. Besides, look who's advocating for repeal: the President of the Frickin' United States! That's a pretty good indication that gay rights are on the march.
Federal judges are coming around on the issue of antigay bias, too, recently declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the California ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. And the Supreme Court itself struck down a Texas sodomy law - a major turning point.
I'll grant you that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage was depressing, but since then the state has instituted a domestic partner registry, which grants some legal protections to same-sex couples. It's an imperfect solution, but at least we're making progress. And before you move out of Wisconsin, don't forget that, in 1982, it became the first state to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination laws.
Back to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You surely read about Lady Gaga's recent appearance at a Maine rally to advocate for the law's repeal. Come on - with Gaga on our side, how can we lose?
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.