From the Editor – Bryan Utley

Many who know me know that I am probably the biggest proponent of the state of Wisconsin here at Antioch. Of course, many of you are thinking that all there is in Wisconsin is cows and people with funny accents. Of course, you are dead wrong. Wisconsin has been the first in many areas. In 1998 my congressional district (the 2nd congressional district of Wisconsin) was first in United States history to elect an openly gay (Tammy Baldwin) non-incumbent candidate to Congress. Also it was my Senator Russ Feingold who was the only United States senator to vote against the Patriot Act and one of two to initially vote against the War in Iraq. When questioned on his reasoning for voting against the Patriot Act, Senator Feingold simply answered, “Because I read it”.
With that said, my focus in this editorial isn’t on a Democrat but a Republican. The year before I came to Antioch I was a guest at the anuual gala hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of Wisconsin. That year PPFW was celebrating the life of former Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus. I was fortunate to have my seating assignment right next to the late former governor. Throughout the presentation I learned through discussion that because of the efforts of Governor Dreyfus, Wisconsin became the first state to ban job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1979. Before California and before New York, a Wisconsin Republican got the job done. Throughout our discussion he shared his disdain for the current Republican Party stating, “The Religious right has hijacked my party”. He soon became an outspoken opponent to Wisconsin’s amendment to ban gay marriage, which unfortunately passed in 2007. Wisconsin lost Lee Dreyfus earlier this year.
Earlier last year, once again Tammy Baldwin introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Employment Act this time to the Democratically controlled 110th Congress. The House version of the bill contained provisions that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally protected groups when dealing with employment and housing. The bill overwhelmingly passed in the house and was stalled several months later in the Senate. Finally last fall the Senate authored its version of the proposed legislation. The senate version left out gender expression. It has been rumored that the President will veto the legislation but hasn’t; instead the bill, if not signed by the end of this current Congress, will die. It is a shame to think that a Republican Governor of a swing state in the seventies had more courage than a Texan in the 21st century.
P.S. for all of you students and faculty from Wisconsin (James Kutil, Alex Borowicz, Jesse Walters, me) be proud of were we’re from,; Wisconsin the home of Robert La Follette, Lee Dreyfus, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin and soon our own Chris Smith.
On Wisconsin
Bryan Utley