FEINGOLD OPPOSES DISCRIMINATORY AMENDMENT; SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Responding to a question posed at his Kenosha County listening session over the weekend, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold said he strongly opposed the proposed civil unions and marriage ban facing Wisconsin voters this November. He also expressed his support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Feingold holds listening sessions in each of Wisconsin's 72 counties every year. Later this year, Feingold will hold his 1000th listening session as a U.S. Senator.
"The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated," Feingold said. "It discriminates against thousands of people in our communities - our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. It would single out members of a particular group and forever deny them rights and protections granted to all other Wisconsin citizens. It would also outlaw civil unions and jeopardize many legal protections for all unmarried couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. We shouldn't enshrine this prejudice in our state's Constitution."
At the listening session, held at the Village Hall in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, Feingold also expressed his support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry.
"As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy," Feingold added. "Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue."
Feingold noted that removing the prohibition against gay marriage would not impose any obligation on religious groups. He indicated that no religious faith should ever be forced to conduct or recognize any marriage, but that civil laws on marriage should reflect the principle of equal rights under the law.