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 Crowds gather for Fair Wisconsin Rally

Quest Magazine Vol. 17 Issue 13
August 12 - 25, 2010


See all the current stories in Quest issue 15 HERE!

Quest Arts & Entertainment Feature:
Thrill Me – The Leopold and Loeb Story opens at MGAC

Quest Home and LeisureFeature:
George Watts’ Interior Design Maestro, Lance Kleeba

Pro-Marriage Marchers Heat Up Anti-Gay Group’s “Summer” Tour
Marriage Equality Backers Outnumber NOM Rally Attendees 8 To 1

By Mike Fitzpatrick mmmmmmFor the Quest gallery of photos from the March Click Here!

Madison - The Wisconsin stop of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) “Summer For Marriage” Tour received a warm welcome here July 27 on the steps of the State Capitol. However the heat came in the form of a counter-demonstration by supporters of full marriage equality who outnumbered the NOM backers by more than eight to one.

Crowds gather for Fair Wisconsin Rally

Actual head counts tallied 466 pro-equality marchers to just 54 for the NOM crowd, according to Arisha Michelle Hatch of NOM Tour Tracker, a project of the California-based Courage Campaign Institute.

“When you consider that over two dozen of the people in their crowd were organizers, their turnout was even more pathetic,” Quest Madison Bureau reporter Dan Ross said. Ross noted that the NOM crowd dwindled as their rally progressed, suggesting a number of the attendees were curious bystanders who were in the Capitol area and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

The noisy counter-demonstrators chanted “Keep your hate out of our state” and other slogans, effectively drowning out the amplified remarks of NOM Executive Director Brian Brown, spokesperson Maggie Gallagher, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Wisconsin Family Action director Julaine Appling.

Sporting what appeared to be a mid-term election season makeover, the newly-bleached blonde, bespeckled Appling clearly was miffed by the size of the counter-demonstrators as she began her opening remarks. “Thank you all for coming,”Appling quipped. “(We hoped our turnout would be larger) but our people actually have jobs.”

Grothman took the protesters to task for their behavior during his remarks, claiming right-wing activists don’t engage in such behavior. ““I’ve been here for very extreme feminist rallies – we never shout them down,” he said, prompting several demonstrator cat calls about recent Tea Party antics.

StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and CounterNOM’s Brown capsulized the rally’s official purpose by saying “We’re standing up for a great good,We’re standing up for the foundation of our society.”

The exuberance of the marriage equality backers had been fueled by both an 11 AM rally on the UW-Madison Library Mall followed by a noisy march up State Street to the Capitol and the NOM event.

Supporters came from all over Wisconsin, encouraged by a broad-based coalition of LGBT-supportive organizations, among which were Fair Wisconsin, Freedom to Marry, GSA for Safe Schools, IMPACT, the International Socialist Organization of Madison, the LGBT Campus Center of UW-Madison, the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, OutReach, Pride Alliance of Madison Area Technical College, Proud Theater, Queer-Straight Alliance of the UW-Madison, 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center of La Crosse, the Socialist Party of South Central Wisconsin and Wisconsin Capitol Pride.

Featured speaker at the rally was Assembly Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) who suggested that time was on the side of marriage equality supporters, noting that voters under 30 overwhelmingly opposed the 2006 so-called Marriage Protection” Amendment to the state constitution. “Those are the people who are becoming the majority and taking over as decision-makers,” he said.

We want marriage equality, and we are not going to stop organizing and agitating until we get it,” Pocan concluded.

John Becker and Michael Knaapen, a Milwaukee couple who married in Canada, also shared their story at the rally and their views about the NOM folks gathering a half mile away. “Their hatred of my marriage will never be stronger than my love for my husband,” Becker said.

Following the speeches the crowd stepped off for the march up state street, chanting “Hey hey ho ho, homophobia’s got to go,” “Gay, Straight, Black, White -We demand our equal rights” and other slogans and carrying colorful signs, balloons and other props. Placards ranged from the supportive (“Str8 Support 4 Gay Marriage”) to the comical (“Is Your Marriage Insecure It Needs Defending?”) and even the intellectual, quoting Thomas Jefferson (“Christianity Neither Is Nor Ever Was Part Of Common Law”). The final unit in the march was a huge, street-wide rainbow flag.

By the time the marchers reached the Capitol steps police had cordoned off the NOM area with yellow caution tape, making the poorly attended event appear as much an accident as a rally.

Katie Belanger, Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin, the statewide LGBT equality organization which took the lead role to the final planning and promotion of the counter demonstration, was happy with the marriage equality supporters’ massive response to the NOM event.

“Fair Wisconsin is extremely pleased with the overwhelming support for marriage equality from across the state at the March for Marriage Equality on Tuesday, July 27,” Belanger told Quest. “Nearly 500 people from Madison, Milwaukee, Platteville, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Green Bay joined us and our partner organizations in showing that Wisconsin is a fair and decent place to live and that all people, gay or straight, deserve the protections and respect that marriage provides caring and committed couples.”

“From the passage of domestic partnerships in 2009 to the growing support for repealing our state's discriminatory constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions, Wisconsin is moving in the right direction,” she added. “We were proud to show the National Organization for Marriage, Wisconsin Family Action and anti-gay extremist groups like them that we won't take another step back.”

The 19-state, 23-city NOM “Summer For Marriage” tour continues through August. Though the group’s events have drawn more potesters that supporters thus far, Wisconsin’s response, which came just a week prior to the first anniversary of the state Domestic Partnership law, has been the largest anywhere in the country to date.


Madison - One year ago, Wisconsin took an important step toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as couples across the state began registering as domestic partners.

  “Today we celebrate the anniversary of a historic achievement for Wisconsin’s 15,000 same-sex couples,” stated Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Katie Belanger.  “We are very grateful for the exceptional leadership of Governor Doyle, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Mark Miller, and the many state legislators who worked tirelessly to achieve this landmark victory.  They know that the government shouldn’t stand in the way of someone being able to care for their long-term partner.”

  Over 1,500 same-sex couples across the state have registered as domestic partners and are enjoying the limited legal protections that domestic partnerships provide, such as hospital visitation and family medical leave to care for a sick or injured partner.

  “Although domestic partnerships fall short of full equality, they mark an important shift in the direction of our state,” Belanger continued.  “Wisconsin has resumed its rightful place at the forefront of the quest for fairness.”

  Domestic partnerships mark the first pro-fairness advance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community since Wisconsin became the first state in the country in 1982 to include sexual orientation in our nondiscrimination laws.  The passage of domestic partnerships also makes Wisconsin the first state in the Midwest to protect same-sex couples via legislation and the first state in the country with a broad constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions to enact domestic partnerships.

Fair Wisconsin, one of the state’s most respected advocacy groups, has a proud history in education, grassroots organizing, outreach, and political action in the cause of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. With a statewide board of directors and a full-time staff, Fair Wisconsin is the only organization to represent the Badger state in the Equality Federation, the national alliance of state-based LGBT advocacy organizations.  Fair Wisconsin, along with our national and regional allies, recently helped enact important domestic partnership protections for same-sex couples, making us the first state with an existing constitutional amendment banning both marriage equality and civil unions to enact domestic partnerships. To learn more, visit

The CW Leads Broadcast Networks for First Time; CBS Once Again Receives a “Failing” Rating for Lack of Inclusion of the LGBT Community

Los Angeles, CA - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today released its fourth annual Network Responsibility Index (NRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people on television. Primetime programming on the five broadcast networks was evaluated as well as original primetime programming on 10 of the highest-rated cable networks.

MTV became the first network in the history of the NRI to earn an “Excellent” rating from GLAAD. Of its 207.5 hours of original primetime programming, 42% included LGBT-inclusive images that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the LGBT community as well as a strong cross-section of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“It is with great pride that GLAAD honors MTV with our highest mark of excellence in recognition of the network’s commitment to fair and accurate representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “From their inception, MTV programs like ‘The Real World’ and ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ have offered richly diverse portrayals of gay and transgender people that help Americans better understand and accept our community.”

GLAAD reviewed a total of 4,787.5 hours of primetime programming for inclusion of LGBT characters or issues on the five major networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC) from June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010. GLAAD also examined 1,227.75 hours of original primetime programming on 10 highly-rated cable networks. Each hour was reviewed for on-screen LGBT representations. Based on the quantity, overall quality and diversity of these representations, a rating was assigned by GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Program to each network: Excellent, Good, Adequate, or Failing.

Additional findings from the GLAAD

Network Responsibility Index:
Broadcast Networks

• After three years in second place, The CW is now the top broadcast network with 35% of its primetime programming hours being LGBT-inclusive. This is the highest percentage ever recorded for a broadcast network, though it should be noted that The CW airs less primetime programming hours than the other four broadcast networks.

• ABC dropped to third place in terms of its percentage of LGBT-inclusive programming hours (26%). ABC received a “Good” rating because of the quantity and strong quality of its LGBT images.

• Fox ranked right behind The CW in its percentage of LGBT-inclusive programming hours (30%) but received an “Adequate” rating because of the stereotypical and defamatory nature of some of its content. NBC also received an “Adequate” because of the comparatively low quantity of LGBT stories (13%).

• CBS once again received a “Failing” rating with only 7% LGBT-inclusive hours of primetime programming, the vast majority of which came from its reality series.

Cable Networks

• In addition to MTV’s groundbreaking “Excellent” rating, for the first time a majority of cable networks received higher than an “Adequate” rating. ABC Family (37%), TNT (34%), Showtime (32%), Lifetime (31%) and HBO (26%) all received “Good” ratings for the quantity and quality of their LGBT-inclusive original programming.

• FX aired a significant amount of LGBT-inclusive programming (27%), but often relied on stereotypes or problematic representations of the LGBT community.

• USA (4%), A&E (3%) and TBS (2%) all received “Failing” ratings for their lack of LGBT-inclusive images.

“When television networks share real stories of our community, audiences begin to see the common ground that we all share,” said Barrios. “Over the last year, viewers across the country celebrated the arrival of Mitchell and Cameron’s baby on ABC’s ‘Modern Family’, while teens and parents everywhere were moved by Kurt Hummel’s relationship with his father on Fox’s ‘Glee.’ These images and stories are being noticed by viewers, critics and Awards programs and we urge other networks to open their airwaves to such powerful and inclusive messages.”

The fourth annual GLAAD Network Responsibility Index was sent to programming executives at the 15 graded networks, and GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Program will continue to advocate for improvements in the quantity, quality and diversity of their LGBT representations.

The Executive Summary and full report can be viewed online at
The 15th Annual GLAAD Where We Are On TV report on diversity will be issued in September 2010. This analysis will examine LGBT inclusion as well as the gender and race/ethnicity of all scripted characters scheduled to appear during the 2010-2011 season.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit

Prop 8 Ruling & Target Boycott Dominated Recent LGBT News

by Mark Mariucci

LGBT activists around the US celebrated Judge Walker’s ruling overturning the discriminatory Prop 8 law passed in California. Imediately there was a stay on the implimentation of the ruling pending an appeal. Meanwhile California Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for the stay to be removed and allow same sex marriages to resume.

California attorney general Jerry Brown had also written in favor of allowing same-sex marriages to resume even though he previously opposed a request to block Prop. 8 prior to trial.

Republicans as well as Democrats around the US have been strangely silent on the issue wishing to avoid it possibly due to the upcoming elections which they want focused on the economy.

“Today is, in no uncertain terms, historic,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG National. “With this monumental ruling, all families win and at last have the security of knowing that all of our loved ones – both straight and gay – have the same freedom to marry. Today’s ruling sent the message that equality means equality for all.”

The ruling will now be appealed and most thing it will end up at the Supreme Court. A decision in favor of striking Prop 8 there would have far reaching effect on other states and their ruling including Wisconsin.

Green BayTV station Fox 11 quoted Law professor and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, “It doesn't impact us right now. It's one federal judge deciding on the California constitutional amendment. If the united states supreme court would reach a similar decision, it would mean the constitutional amendment that we have voted for and passed would be unconstitutional. But we're a long way away from that happening."

The Green Bay news station also spoke with Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. "The ruling from the judge is hardly surprising, however, it is disappointing and it is distressing to think that a single judge can undo the will of over a million people in California."

LGBT activists would argue it is the job of the courts to protect a unfavored minority from the will of a majority when they vote to discriminate.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin stated in a prepared release. “We live in a democracy wherein majority rule is checked and balanced by the guarantee of inalienable minority rights. This case, as it wends its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, presents jurists with fundamental questions about minority rights and majority rule. I believe Judge Walker got it right, declaring that denial of marriage rights and protections to gay and lesbian citizens violates the Constitution even if it reflects the will of the majority of Californians,” said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

The fight to bring marriage equality to the LGBT community is far from over. Rea Carey, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force writes, “The tide is turning nationwide in favor of marriage equality, but our work is far from over. Today’s ruling is just a beginning step in what will likely be a long process, yet we are confident that fairness will prevail. Our conversations are breaking down barriers and helping to transform our country.”

The other story of special interest to Wisconsin’s LGBT community was news of Best Buy and more importantly Target corporate headquarters giving money to political group Minnesota Forward that aims to elect anti-gay Republican Tom Emmer.

Target alone gave $150,000 with Best Buy contributing 100,000. Consumers have taken to Facebook to call for a boycott of Target that has been growing virally for the past week.

Target defended its action in an email to employees saying Target's political donations are intended to support business objectives such as job creation and economic growth. Target also said its support of the gay community is “unwavering.”

Best Buy also informed employees of its decision but had gotten only a handful of phone calls

Of curious interest is the other candidate that is running against Emmer. Pro-gay former U.S. senator Mark Dayton is in the lead heading into the August 10 Democratic primary. The Advocate wrote in an article published July 30, “An heir to Dayton-Hudson Corp. fortune, Mark Dayton is the great-grandson of George Dayton, who stared the Dayton’s department store chain. In 1962, Dayton's opened the first Target, a discount department store.” Mark Dayton’s has promised to tax the richest Minnesotans which is a position Target and Best Buy oppose as being bad for job growth in Minnesota.

HRC had rated Target and Best Buy at 100% with its corporate scoring system calling into question its system as being flawed.

Target has since appologized to the LGBT community for an “insensitive political contributions” promised increased responsibility for future contributions.

There are more developements on the Target boycott since Quest went to press. It appears the CEO and second in charge may be more cozy with the anti-gay groups than previously thought.
Check out the link to this story on Quest's main page or just click here.

OutReach Changes Date on Awards Banquet

Madison - Outreach, Madison & south central Wisconsin's LGBT Community Center has announce a change of date for the 18th annual awards banquet. The change comes as a result of the original date, September 17 conflicts with a Jewish holiday. The new date is Friday, September 24 and will still be held at the Monona Terrace. The schedule of times and speakers remains unchaged.

“When we set the date for our event over a year ago we were not aware of the conflict with the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. We apologize for scheduling the event on the eve of this important holiday, and for the inconvenience that the date change may cause people,” Harry Straetz, Program Director stated in a press release send to Quest.

Tickets are on sale now. Call (608)255-8582 or go to for more information.

Room2Breath Smoking Cessation Program Continues August 19th & 26th

Milwaukee - Room2Breath is an LGBT smoking cessation program co-sponsored by Diverse and Resilient and the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.  The seven week quit group series is held at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center at 315 W. Court Street from 6 to 8pm.

Wisconsin became smoke-free in bars, restaurantsand all other public buildings on July 5.  For many, this was an opportunity to try and kick the habit rather than stand outside a bar to light up.

If you have been thinking about quitting, do it in a friendly supportive group.  Contact Dave at 414-292-3066 for more information on the next Quit Group Series.

Wisconsin Captiol Pride in Madison August 20, 21, 22

Madison - Wisconsin Capitol Pride (WCP) has announced that 2010 PRIDE Festival will be held August 20-22nd. The Pride Festival in its second year will be held Saturday, August 21st on Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center. The Pride Festival will celebrate the diverse LGBT community in Dane County and Greater Wisconsin and will feature various events ranging from live concerts, to contests as well as community and family-oriented activities. Wisconsin Capitol Pride has become the sucessor to Magic Picnic which was held annually for decades on or around July 20. The two organizations are not related.

The 2010 Pride Festival, which will commence on Saturday, August 20th from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, and will feature performances by Goddess and She, Dot Dot Dot, and Tuo Tuo as well as an all-star lineup of other acts. Admission will be $8 pre-sale / $10 at the gate.

The focal point of Sunday, August 22nd activities will be a Pride parade, beginning at 1 pm that will circle Madison’s Capital Square, and end with a Rally on Library Mall.


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