In 1982, Wisconsin was the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, which was signed by then-Governor Lee Dreyfus. The governor said, “It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican party that government ought not intrude in the private lives of individuals.”
On June 25, our Marathon County Board voted 20-15 to declare June as Pride Month from this year forward.
So what do I think? What a colossal waste of time and effort! Why did they discuss and pass a resolution on an issue that was adequately addressed at the state level in 1982?
Supervisor Katie Rosenberg said discrimination in the county resulted in “at least in one instance, job termination.” Why does our state law not cover this? Furthermore, if this employer had been stepped on to rehire this person, would this then be a great place for them to work? Will flying a rainbow flag change this employers heart? Will the supposed “education” component of this change their heart? Do these attempts at “forced respect” ever actually result in respect?
Supervisor Ka Lo said the resolution represented a “first step economically” to diversify the Marathon County workforce. Is this a joke? Our workforce has been diversified for years. And with near zero unemployment, how many employers are concerned with the sexual orientation of a good employee?
It is grossly unfair and a purposeful tactic to characterize anyone who’s opposed to this resolution as a homophobe, a bigot or as uncaring. As a Christian, I believe all people should be treated with respect. Christians are constantly characterized as “intolerant” when in reality we are the most tolerant. It is the Left and non-Christians who do not respect our right to follow our religious convictions. I had an openly gay gentleman work on my farm for over a year and have had numerous interactions with others. There has never been a problem – because it’s a non-issue and none of my business. I am totally against this resolution because it is feel-good fluff, divisive, gives unwarranted special treatment to one group of people and will accomplish nothing.
The county board set a precedent when it passed proclamations in support of Hmong veterans and indigenous peoples. Why did they go there? The Marathon County Board has many more important issues to discuss and make decisions on than these resolutions/proclamations. At the June meeting, Wausau resident Ben Lee called board supervisors who refused to support the resolution “spineless.” I think those who DID support it are. Anyone can go with the political tide – that’s easy. Being honest and telling the emperor he has no clothes on is much harder. I am appalled by the way many on the board voted that I trusted knew better.
Marathon County has so many things to offer its residents. From good schools to recreation and natural beauty to low crime to good jobs and low cost-of-living. I’m not buying the line of bull that having a Pride Month ranks anywhere near the top of the considerations list of anyone moving in or out.
What was the rush to decide so quickly on Pride Month? Had board members listened to all constituents, instead of only the loud ones, they would have likely voted differently. Contact your supervisor and either thank them for the way they voted or express your displeasure if you don’t approve. I understand it would be relatively easy to schedule a re-vote. As my dad often told me, “If you don’t do it right, you can do it over.” Perhaps some of these supervisors don’t care about being re-elected?
Should Pride Month stand, I’ll close with a few points. First, flying a pride flag anywhere near our Wisconsin or American flags makes a mockery out of what those two flags represent. Second, I hope going forward the Marathon County Board stays out of the weeds, out of state and national politics, and handles local issues from now on. Pride Month is purely political. Third, if you want to be treated like everyone else, act like everyone else. I won’t push my orientation on you if you do the same and I don’t want to hear about your Pride Month.
Randy Wokatsch of Marathon
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