Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently said he believed his state had a “healthy balance” of LGBT rights even though they have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why? Because Wisconsin has passed ENDA legislation that is inclusive of gays and lesbians. Presumably under Walker’s “balance of rights” theory it would also be acceptable for, say, African-Americans to be denied the right to vote as long as they have the right to own their own property. Because that’s how it works, right?
In fact, contrary to Walker’s assertions, it seems the citizens of Wisconsin have evolved in their stance on LGBT issues. The state elected two openly gay members of Congress last fall — Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Mark Pocan. And while it still isn’t clear if Wisconsinites endorse same-sex marriage, it is pretty clear that today they would not approve a constitutional amendment to ban it. Pollsters estimate that 48.8 percent of the citizenry now approve of same-sex marriage, and this statistic is increasing by 2.8 percent every year.
Walker’s Tea Party antics have landed him on Right Wing Watch 17 times and have even inspired a new site entitled Scott Walker Watch. Walker has always been a rather sketchy public official. In May of 2012 he transferred $160,000 into a mysterious legal defense fund, although no charges had formally been brought against him. A three year “John Doe” investigation resulted in the conviction of three of Walker’s aides, a campaign donor, and one of his appointees. While that investigation ended in March without implicating Walker himself, a new investigation just opened to investigate possible campaign finance abuses during Walker’s 2012 recall election.
Yes, that’s right; you read correctly. Walker is so out of step with Wisconsin voters that a previous recall attempt garnered over 1 million signatures, 85 percent more than the required number. Walker won that election, but the margins were slim; he was only 6.9 percentage points ahead of his opponent, and now it seems he may have achieve this only by abusing campaign finance laws. And while Walker hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom yet, one of the judges involved in the aforementioned “John Doe” investigation also signed the recall petition.
Walker’s statements about his state’s “healthy balance” of LGBT rights are instead indicative of his own mental imbalance when it comes to reading the political pulse in Wisconsin. His remarks ignore the facts and are demeaning to the LGBT population within his state, as well as their allies. Wisconsin has clearly reached a tipping point when it comes to LGBT issues, and Walker would do well to get on the right side of the scale.