Epistle to Wisconsin Monthly Meetings
and Worship Groups, NYM, IYM and ICYM

Fifth Month 2006

As part of the November 7th 2006 election, Wisconsin voters will be asked whether we should add the following amendment to the state constitution: Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.

This proposed constitutional amendment goes beyond existing laws prohibiting gay marriages or civil unions: similar or identical language in other states has been used to unravel existing health benefits and visitation rights for unmarried domestic partners, gays and heterosexuals alike. In contrast, Milwaukee Monthly Meeting continues to affirm our deeply felt commitment to equality. Our February 2005 minute of re-affirmation concludes: We support full and equal inclusion of gays and lesbians in enjoying the rights and privileges afforded any citizen. Our experience confirms that we are all equal before God. Our Meeting will witness this truth to all its member organizations and to the wider community.

Please join with us in witnessing our commitment to equality and our opposition to this amendment.

We are supporting the efforts of Fair Wisconsin, a statewide coalition that has been formed to coordinate an effective campaign to defeat the amendment. The basic premise is that Wisconsin voters are fair-minded. Whether or not they agree with gay marriage, they can vote against the mean-spirited discrimination and cynical political maneuvering that underlies this amendment. To raise awareness and get out the vote, the essential tools are, as always, fund raising and volunteer work. We can contribute in many ways.

To raise our own awareness and energy we created an event to celebrate the joy and diversity of marriages and families in our Meeting. The event followed the pattern of all marriages that we oversee, including a lot of preparation work by our adults and youth, seasoned members and newcomers. Formal invitations were sent, a “Meeting for Worship with Attention to Marriage and Families” was held, past wedding certificates were displayed, educational tables were present, buttons and tee shirts were for sale, everyone was asked to sign a certificate and indicate one way in which they will witness our truth on this issue. We continued with wonderful food, a wedding cake, a DJ and dancing.

We invite everyone in Wisconsin to celebrate the joy of marriage and diversity in our lives and to work to defeat this proposed amendment.

Blessings,

Milwaukee Monthly Meeting

Priscilla Camilli, Clerk

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