Wisconsin senator says GLBT citizens fighting a “mean-spirited” movement to deny them access to marriage, civil unions
WASHINGTON Senator Russ Feingold said Tuesday he supports giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, becoming the fourth U.S. senator to take that position, according to a gay-rights advocacy group.
Feingold, a Democrat of Wisconsin, issued a statement saying he was asked about his views on the subject at a listening session with constituents Sunday night in Kenosha, Wis.
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, he said he decided to express his support for gay marriage at the session in response to what he called a “mean-spirited” Wisconsin constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions, which will appear on the state ballot in November.
“I will be voting against the harsh amendment that’s been proposed in Wisconsin, and I thought it was an appropriate occasion to indicate my feeling that if two people care enough about each other to get married, that it probably is a positive thing for society,” he said.
“Gay and lesbian people in our country are fighting a mean-spirited movement to harm them and to discriminate against them,” he added. “I stand with them against that movement, and I’m proud to stand with them.”
Asked if he would support federal legislation to legalize gay marriage, Feingold said he’s not focused on that now. By supporting gay marriage, Feingold, a potential presidential candidate, has once again taken a position that places him to the left of potential 2008 rivals.
Earlier examples include his call for a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, his opposition to the Patriot Act renewal and his proposal to censure President Bush for his domestic wiretapping program.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 07, 2006.