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Visitation at Wisconsin Hospitals.
May 20, 2011 6:20 AM   Subscribe

Gov. Scott Walker wants to stop defending hospital visitation rights for same sex couples. His rationale is a 2006 law passed banning same sex marriage or similar arrangements. The visitation law was passed in 2009.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated (116 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can we not do this tread and say we did?
posted by wheelieman at 6:26 AM on May 20, 2011


I don't understand how being able to visit someone in the hospital is encroaching on the special rights of heterosexually married people. If you visit your platonic friend in the hospital, what are you taking away from the husband next door who's visiting his wife? How is it that Holy Sacred Marriages are so fragile that they need protecting like this?

And let's not even talk about how utterly absurd this is in the face of "smaller, less intrusive government" rhetoric. It's nothing but cruel, shithearted behavior. Fuck you, Walker, and everyone who thinks this is good legislation and social policy.
posted by rtha at 6:29 AM on May 20, 2011 [75 favorites]


He's gonna get recalled.

A few weeks back I was in my fave dive bar here in dc and three guys were celebrating a new job for one of them. We chatted and found out the job was running the recall elections this summer for the DNC. Back then there had only been one petition, but he explained they were gonna submit recalls on almost all senators available for recall and he was confident of victory.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:30 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, essentially, he's just being evil for the sake of it? I mean, there's no rationale behind this except pure spite.
posted by Grangousier at 6:32 AM on May 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


There are only so many ways to call a guy an asshole, and we're quickly running out around here.
posted by hafehd at 6:33 AM on May 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


What, no "christwhatanasshole" tag?
posted by Skeptic at 6:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


In related news, a promising candidate for the "Biggest Douche in the Universe" award has announced his intention not to go down without a fight...
posted by jefficator at 6:35 AM on May 20, 2011


His refusal to defend the law may actually be good news, as it allows other groups (and one has already stepped in) to bring in their lawyers to defend it.
posted by drezdn at 6:35 AM on May 20, 2011


Here's a blog post explaining why this might be good news. It looks like Fair Wisconsin has stepped in to defend the law.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would be funny if it was a film.
posted by londonmark at 6:37 AM on May 20, 2011


Only if he went on to fall feet first into a wood chipper. That would be funny.
posted by Grangousier at 6:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's so unnecessarily heartless. I imagine that there are many people against gay marriage that would still be appalled at the idea of preventing anyone from visiting their loved ones in the hospital.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:42 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I imagine him bursting into a giant purple dragon a la Maleficent. The chipper's a nice touch.
posted by londonmark at 6:43 AM on May 20, 2011


Is this an American thing? In Australian healthcare the rule is "family is who they say they are." Gay partner? Straight partner? 3rd cousin twice removed? Hetero-life-mate? I've been working in hospitals for 9 years now and I've NEVER seen someone turned away from a sick person.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


Why are visitation rights so closely guarded in the first place? Is this supposed to protect against some hypothetical scenario like random strangers visiting comatose patients against their will? I don't see why you can't just say "I want this person to be allowed to visit me", vocally or in writing (e.g. on the back of your driver's license.)

Or is this really about more "legally" important aspects, like power of attorney or next-of-kin?
posted by CaseyB at 6:49 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is just cruel.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:58 AM on May 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is this an American thing? In Australian healthcare the rule is "family is who they say they are." Gay partner? Straight partner? 3rd cousin twice removed? Hetero-life-mate? I've been working in hospitals for 9 years now and I've NEVER seen someone turned away from a sick person.

In Amurika, men cain't care 'bout other men. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve and this is a God-fearin' Christian Nation doncha know. Our laws are based on the Bible, just like the founders wanted it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:04 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have this theory that we humans as a society learn by aggregate and very slowly at that. My hope is that this is just one more data point pushing us forward. My admittedly optimistic take is that as these things keep happening people will be less likely to vote for people like Walker, and hopefully push more people into voting when they otherwise wouldn't have.

There recall elections are coming. With luck they will be successful and may impact Wisconsin politics for years to come. Most people don't vote, maybe shit like this will convince some of them that voting does matter. I refuse to believe that most people actually support shit like this, they just don't see the impact of their apathy until it gets shoved in their faces a couple dozen times.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2011


So, essentially, he's just being evil for the sake of it? I mean, there's no rationale behind this except pure spite.

Generic GOP base voters don't like gays. The worse he's doing otherwise the more he needs them.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


With all of the shit going on in Japan, my wife keeps saying, hey, let's move to America. The thing is, she has no idea what's going on back home. I've been keeping track, and I'm always saying, no, let's stay here, in Japan.

Yeah, that's right. I'd rather stay where there is a non-zero chance of my government lying/not-knowing whether or not the salad I eat for dinner is going to give me cancer or not than move back to the States. Seriously.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:07 AM on May 20, 2011 [24 favorites]


It's about punishment. Some people believe something along the lines of "These 'gay' people have made a wrong choice and need to be punished for it. "
posted by tyllwin at 7:08 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


In related news, a promising candidate for the "Biggest Douche in the Universe" award has announced his intention not to go down without a fight...

Meanwhile, Le Page dons his gorilla suit and diving helmet and prepares to slouch down from Maine to do battle for the title.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:10 AM on May 20, 2011


[sarcasm] C'mon, people, can't you all see how, obviously, allowing gays to visit sick "friends" in the hospital would destroy the sanctity of marriage? [/sarcasm]

Un-frickin'-believable. I generally try to assume most people act, even if in a dangerously misguided way, in a manner they believe will bring about the best outcome... And then we bring the religious into the picture, and suddenly gays rot in the hospital alone, buildings blow up, women get mutilated, and generally just a whole lot of people suffer needlessly because they consider the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe so small and petty that it can't handle anyone, anywhere using the wrong number of forks at dinner.
posted by pla at 7:10 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


"If gays can visit each other in hospitals, what's next? Cats visiting dogs? Dolphins visiting women? It'll be anarchy! Madness!"
posted by Eideteker at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Yeah, that's right. I'd rather stay where there is a non-zero chance of my government lying/not-knowing whether or not the salad I eat for dinner is going to give me cancer or not than move back to the States. Seriously."

Blah blah blah America sucks blah blah blah. From the wikipedia: Homosexuality is legal in Japan. There are currently no laws against homosexuality, but there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.
posted by pjaust at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


it can't handle anyone, anywhere using the wrong number of forks at dinner

Woa there, I'm as open as the next guy, but there's such a thing as standards you know?
posted by londonmark at 7:14 AM on May 20, 2011


Ghidorah, I think you owe MetaFilter, America and Wikipedia an apology.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me first say Scott Walker is an ass. Really, Wisconsin? Really?

"Why are visitation rights so closely guarded in the first place? Is this supposed to protect against some hypothetical scenario like random strangers visiting comatose patients against their will?"

My husband used to do a lot of (and still does some) work for a local hospital involving patient guardianship, medical decision-maker disputes, that kind of thing. They'd call him when a patient was comatose and had no decision-maker, or when the family was in an insoluble dispute, or when the cops had to be called to eject family, or things like that. So, granted that these are the EXTREME cases and don't happen that often, some of the things we've seen:

*Privacy rights and privacy issues (which you actually see questions about on Ask MeFi, especially w/r/t mothers/mothers-in-law and birth); a patient may not WANT a particular visitor but have difficulty (due to family dynamics, illness, exhaustion, whatever) saying no to that person. A patient may also want privacy w/r/t that particular medical issue and may not want even close family there. The patient is the one who gets to decide who visits and who doesn't.

*Coercion, particularly involving family disputes: the most common case of this is either sibling vs. sibling with an aging parent, but another very common case is the patient's spouse or same-sex partner vs. the patient's parents. Everyone claims to be family, and everyone wants to get in there to talk to the exhausted, ill patient and try to convince the patient to do X. This may be limited to coercion related to treatment, but may also involve coercion related to money or even life decisions. ("Don't you think Joe shouldn't really be here, honey?") Spousal or partner abuse can present a similar problem; in the U.S., even a spouse or partner visit requires the patient's consent (if the patient is alert and competent). I find it frankly amusing how often I have to give consent for my husband to be there at ob/gyn things (I'm 8 months pregnant) and how often they send him out of the room anyway to ask me "personal" questions.

*Surprise relatives sometimes pop out of the woodwork when someone is in the hospital, usually smelling money, and claiming to be next-of-kin. Or just engaging in crazy, because they can.

The bigger issues are certainly medical decision-making rights and inheritance rights, but visitation IS an issue.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:23 AM on May 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Why are visitation rights so closely guarded in the first place? Is this supposed to protect against some hypothetical scenario like random strangers visiting comatose patients against their will? I don't see why you can't just say "I want this person to be allowed to visit me", vocally or in writing (e.g. on the back of your driver's license.)

Or is this really about more "legally" important aspects, like power of attorney or next-of-kin?
posted by CaseyB at 6:49 AM on May 20 "

It's about who gets to define and *control* "family" - religious traditionalists, the government, corporate interests, or... individuals. Interestingly, the last two have more convergence together (at this point in history) than the first pair. It remains to be seen for how much longer corporatist oligarchy will continue to support any other agenda than their own pursuit of profit. Given Walker/WI GOP dependence on Koch Brothers funding and ideology, it may be a while.
posted by Dreidl at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2011


Oh, let's get all these vicious fundamentalist non-denominationals out of the closet and have them stand up and be counted. These people think gay people are evil, they think being gay is an abomination, shit, mainstream politicians associate themselves with ministries that come within a hairsbreadth of vocally supporting the execution of gay people. Let middle-of-the-road Republicans who claim to be there for the fiscal conservatism and small government know who they are in bed with.
posted by nanojath at 7:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I almost feel bad for whomever gets to enforce this awesome bit of legislation.

Can you seriously imagine telling somebody that they cannot visit their legally-married partner who is dying in a hospital? Now, can you imagine being that other person? I'm not a violent man, but I cannot imagine any outcome of that scenario that would not end with me being dragged away in handcuffs.

I'm sorry, but this is pure evil. There is absolutely no excuse for this.
posted by schmod at 7:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


While yes, this is fucking evil, this post is framed pretty misleadingly to highlight Governor Walker's role in it. He is declining to defend is Wisconsin's Domestic Partnerships law ( linked in the post) saying that it, not visitation rights, violates the Wisconsin 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."

He is not saying that visitation rights violate that hateful amendment to the Wisconsin constitution, but that all of these rights together do:

Administration and transfer of deceased partner's estate
Ability to inherit partner's estate in the absence of a will
Priority with respect to certain personal property
Can be awarded the couple’s home and vehicles that are titled in the name of the deceased partner, as well as personal and household items of the deceased partner, by a probate court
Exempting certain property transferred to the surviving partner from creditors' claims
Family support during administration of a deceased individual's estate
Transfer of real estate titles without paying fee
Transfer of motor vehicle titles

Other rights
Presumption of joint tenancy in real estate
Rights related to power of attorney for property and finances
Family leave for sick or dying partner
Hospital visitation
Ability to admit incapacitated partner to nursing facility
Ability to access deceased or incapacitated partner's medical records
Ability to file suit for wrongful death
Right to receive death benefits if the deceased partner was killed in a workplace accident
Crime victim compensation
Immunity from testifying against partner
Ability to consent to autopsy for deceased partner
Ability to make anatomical donation in the event of partner's death


While it does not include the massive tax benefits of marriage, the law does seem awfully substantially similar.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:35 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, to be clear: I think Walker is a jackass and what he and the Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature are doing pisses me off to no end (gah voter id bill agh).

But I think the framing in the post is a little misleading; what passed in 2006 was a constitutional amendment banning "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage" for same-sex couples. What Walker is deciding not to defend is a statewide domestic partnership registry that grants something like a quarter of the rights/benefits of marriage, including hospital visitation rights. He wasn't just like, "I know, I'll stop the gays from visiting their hospitalized partners!" Or, on preview, what Blasdelb said.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the tactic of refusing to defend legislation that the executive thinks is unconstitutional. I mean, I think I'm against it, but then I also have to be against the state refusing to defend DOMA and prop 8.
posted by Vibrissa at 7:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why hasn't this schmuck been recalled like a load of shit-tainted beef already?
posted by elizardbits at 7:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


tyllwin: It's about punishment. Some people believe something along the lines of "These 'gay' people have made a wrong choice and need to be punished for it. "

They're the same people who want to punish women for making their own choices, minorities for getting uppity, and poor people for being poor. Nonwhite-nonmale-nonhetero-nonprotestants could avoid all this unpleasantness if they would just learn their place and stay there!
posted by headnsouth at 7:41 AM on May 20, 2011


Yeah this is just mean. I think it is silly that heterosexuals have a problem with gay marriage, but I sort of get that they define marriage as a religious institution and because of that think it precludes gay people. It is bigotry sure, but it usually seems informed by what amounts to prescriptive grammar. I even get why some people might not be for civil unions. Government has incentivized certain living arrangements because they are conducive to starting stable families and with gay couples there is less likelihood that that will happen. I can disagree and think they are probably just making excuses and they just want to legislate away the bland discomfort of living in a changing world.

But this is just cruel. It is cartoon villain stuff. And I think most people who disapprove of gay people, and seek to distinguish their love as a lesser and different love, will think this is too much. Too purposeless. I think most people who might wince at two men kissing and dedicating their life to one another can still muster the emotional imagination to conjure two human beings seeking comfort from one another when they are sick and vulnerable. I think with this one Scott Walker has miscalculated. He has forgotten that for most people bigotry is a tepid thing, barely chosen, the answer only because it came so easily. Sure there are your hopeless cases, people sincere in their hate, but I think now they are thankfully few.
posted by I Foody at 7:42 AM on May 20, 2011


Why hasn't this schmuck been recalled like a load of shit-tainted beef already?

He's not eligible for recall until he's been in office for a year.
posted by Vibrissa at 7:42 AM on May 20, 2011


So, essentially, he's just being evil for the sake of it? I mean, there's no rationale behind this except pure spite.

The only way he'll save his ass in the inevitable recall is to appeal to tea party right wingers as much as possible. And if he loses, he needs the clout for whatever cushy Wingnut Welfare job at the ______ Foundation/Group/Firm he'll immediately get.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:43 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine that there are many people against gay marriage that would still be appalled at the idea of preventing anyone from visiting their loved ones in the hospital.

Not that many. The same people who are against same-sex marriage are the same people who think that gays aren't entitled to any rights or benefits that resemble those of marriage, because any encroachment by gays on those rights and benefits would imply that same-sex marraige is just as legitimate as heterosexual marriage. That's the basis of Walker's objection. That's the basis of the objections of his ideological kin, his financial backers, and his political allies.

So, to recap: no, not that many people against same-sex marriage would be "appalled" at all. They would be, and are, appalled that same-sex hospital visitation rights are allowed to stand.

Yeah this is just mean .... But this is just cruel. It is cartoon villain stuff.

None of these people cares whether what they believe is "mean" or not. They are thrilled to be mean and victorious in the name of and in the defense of God.

And I think most people who disapprove of gay people, and seek to distinguish their love as a lesser and different love, will think this is too much.

They will not. See above.
posted by blucevalo at 7:48 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


And if he loses, he needs the clout for whatever cushy Wingnut Welfare job at the ______ Foundation/Group/Firm he'll immediately get.

Depressing thought - even if he does lose the recall, he'll just become the Tom Skerritt to the Tom Cruises and Val Kilmer of the new right. What greater badge of honor could there be than representing the people's will so assiduously that not even the people could stand you? It's like being the douchebag version of Aristeides the Just.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it's not his own spite, he's pandering to the spite of other people. It's still spite.
posted by Grangousier at 7:55 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, this is some straight-up bullshit. J.B. Van Hollen is the State Attorney General and should be representing the state and state laws, NOT "what gov. Walker wants". He has avoided prosecuting Republicans for a number of questionably-legal antics and legislative ignorance bordering on criminal. Now we have an on-the-books law that isn't liked by most republicans and he won't defend it? Maybe I'm judicially ignorant, but when the state attorney general can pick and choose what he wants to prosecute or defend regardless of what is legal it seems to me there is a big problem.
posted by nTeleKy at 7:55 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think you owe MetaFilter, America and Wikipedia an apology.

well, shit, Pjaust, I imagine I'm horribly wrong about that. I mean, since the elected officials here seem to spend most of their in-office hours condemning gays and heathens. Oh, wait, they don't.

Yes, Japan might not be the most forward thinking society on the planet. On the other hand, some of the most popular celebrities in the country (including the poor sap they roped into their annual 24 hour marathon/telethon) happen to be transgendered, gay, or bisexual.

Seriously, go ahead, be as rah, rah as you want. If you've got elected officials at any level, let alone the fucking state level, denying people the ability to visit loved ones in the hospital, on the basis of the elected official's personal, outmoded belief system, well, hey, you're more than welcome to the country I'd rather take my chances with cesium than move back to.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:56 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: It's like being the douchebag version of Aristeides the Just.

Also, this previous comment of mine sums up a fair bit.
posted by stet at 7:58 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


He is declining to defend is Wisconsin's Domestic Partnerships law ( linked in the post) saying that it, not visitation rights, violates the Wisconsin constitution

And that's better ..... how, exactly?
posted by blucevalo at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2011


If I recall correctly, Madison has traditionally scored quite high on the list of the most gay friendly cities in the US, I wonder if this is some sort of ill conceived revenge for the protests earlier this year.

Either way, I'm looking forward to the recall and I hope he gets dropped so hard he bounces a couple of times.

Because seriously, fuck this guy.
posted by quin at 7:59 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus Fucking Christ this makes me furious. At this point I would actually prefer that Sarah Palin was our governor. She's just stupid and incompetent. Walker is pure evil.
posted by desjardins at 8:02 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's not eligible for recall until he's been in office for a year.

Holy shit, i didn't realize he caused all this havoc in less than 6 months. What a horribly, poisonous little man.
posted by elizardbits at 8:05 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


At this point I would actually prefer that Sarah Palin was our governor. She's just stupid and incompetent. Walker is pure evil.

Sarah Palin believes pretty much what Walker believes as far as same-sex rights/benefits, preservation and safeguarding of traditional marriage, union-busting, etc. So you'd be wishing for more of the same. And you're deluding yourself if you think that she's stupid.
posted by blucevalo at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2011


Government has incentivized certain living arrangements because they are conducive to starting stable families and with gay couples there is less likelihood that that will happen.

See, I don't get this line of thinking. It's based on assumptions that are unfounded and/or unprovable and/or just flat-out wrong. To wit:

Is there evidence that gay couples who get married are less likely to form stable families?

How does preventing certain kinds of people from getting married encourage other kinds of people to get married?

"Families" can only be defined as units composed of parents and biologically related children.

If gay people can get married, straight families (husband, wife, kids) will become destablized, because....gay married people are magic and can cause divorce just by existing.

I mean, what?
posted by rtha at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Walker is pure evil.

He's that special kind of *banal* evil. His high school yearbook photo was floating around a while back - he's the kid, a couple years older than you, that would deck you in the hallway, or throw your uniform in the shower at gym, and when you finally got the balls to confront him he'd do a half-shrug, half-smirk that says, "What the fuck do I care about you?"

(the high school solution was to knife his tires. The grown up solution is to recall the motherfucker and boycott any news org that has him on after that as a talking head.)
posted by notsnot at 8:10 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


(what I mean is, he's Larry Summers.)
posted by notsnot at 8:11 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there evidence that gay couples who get married are less likely to form stable families?

Undeniably. Do you know that some same-sex married families can't even retain their hospital visitation rights? To say nothing of health benefits and estate planning. How can that possibly be as stable as a straight marriage?
posted by stet at 8:12 AM on May 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


I even get why some people might not be for civil unions. Government has incentivized certain living arrangements because they are conducive to starting stable families and with gay couples there is less likelihood that that will happen.

Not entirely sure what you mean by this, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps you are trying to rationalize someone else's viewpoint and not actually stating your own.

But yeah, that's an ugly thing which you should never say again, even if you're trying to rationalize someone else's viewpoint.

Also, what rtha said.
posted by hippybear at 8:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


And you're deluding yourself if you think that she's stupid.

She's stupid. You don't have to be smart to be an effective demagogue from the sideline, which seems to be her current career. But she has self-sabotaged almost everything she has attempted as a career politician, and they have all been idiot errors.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:18 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So it seems that the 2009 law has not been tested (yet) by a gay person attempting to visit a partner in the hospital and being turned away; it's that Wisconsin Family Action has sued to have the 2009 law (which ensures that right) overturned on the basis of the 2006 amendment.

On the one hand, it seems incredible that a hospital would turn people away. On the other, I know that a friend's mother was turned away from seeing her opposite-sex but unmarried partner in the hospital when he was dying. That was about ten years ago. And it wouldn't have been part of the law's language in the first place if it weren't a problem.
posted by adamrice at 8:18 AM on May 20, 2011


He is declining to defend is Wisconsin's Domestic Partnerships law ( linked in the post) saying that it, not visitation rights, violates the Wisconsin constitution

And that's better ..... how, exactly?


It's not, and really in practical terms, it's worse. But when you (general "you") characterize it as "Scott Walker is taking away hospital visitation rights" without any of the surrounding context, it sounds even more petty and random and assholeish than it actually is, which is fine if you just want to make people angry who already agree with you, but maybe not as constructive if you want to have a discussion with other people. Knowing that there is a logical rationale behind what's going on is relevant, even if I disagree with that rationale.

I wonder if this is some sort of ill conceived revenge for the protests earlier this year.

Things have definitely quieted down a lot since a couple months ago, but there were actually several thousand people protesting at the capitol just last weekend.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:19 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I recall correctly, Madison has traditionally scored quite high on the list of the most gay friendly cities in the US, I wonder if this is some sort of ill conceived revenge for the protests earlier this year.

The rest of the state has some amount of antipathy for "People's Republic of Madison", which is derisively referred to as "70 square miles surrounded by reality".

I understand that Walker (not even a native Sconnie) doesn't even reside in the Governor's Mansion, preferring to be sequestered in Waukesha - the lily-white, exurban shithole.

Anyway - The real fight happened in 2006 and the people, the Sconnies - voted in a huge (60%+) margin to deny basic human rights to gay people.

Those idiots have now got the ideological government they deserve, and Wisconsin has completed its transformation into the Alabama of the North.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the protest numbers will kick back up a bit once school is out, assuming we ever get a stretch of decent weather. SCOTT WALKER KILLED SPRINGTIME!
posted by desjardins at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2011


Once again, I'm listening to the good Scott Walker to help me to forget that this evil Scott Walker even exists.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2011


wheelieman: "Can we not do this tread and say we did?"

Sure, you can hop out this thread if you don't wanna participate, the rest of us who want to can join in. Simple as that :P
posted by symbioid at 8:29 AM on May 20, 2011


"It's nothing but cruel, shithearted behavior. Fuck you, Walker, and everyone who thinks this is good legislation and social policy"

I couldn't say it better myself. You would think that regardless of what anybody thinks about gay marriage, that we could agree that anybody, regardless of name, rank, and serial number, would have the right to sit with a dying loved one in a hospital. But I guess that is expecting too much from our fellow citizens.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:30 AM on May 20, 2011


This is too far for me, and I'm a pretty conservative dude.

These are hospital visitations for goodness sake. Aside from the complete immorality and shittiniess of the position, how can denying those visits to gay partners be in any way good politics?

The Governor is already Exhibit A in how the right should not be fighting its battles. I hope that Governors and GOP politicians from around the country look at Walker as an object lesson in what not to do.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2011


Ghidorah: "I think you owe MetaFilter, America and Wikipedia an apology.

well, shit, Pjaust, I imagine I'm horribly wrong about that. I mean, since the elected officials here seem to spend most of their in-office hours condemning gays and heathens. Oh, wait, they don't.

Yes, Japan might not be the most forward thinking society on the planet. On the other hand, some of the most popular celebrities in the country (including the poor sap they roped into their annual 24 hour marathon/telethon) happen to be transgendered, gay, or bisexual.

Seriously, go ahead, be as rah, rah as you want. If you've got elected officials at any level, let alone the fucking state level, denying people the ability to visit loved ones in the hospital, on the basis of the elected official's personal, outmoded belief system, well, hey, you're more than welcome to the country I'd rather take my chances with cesium than move back to.
"

Hey, nobody here is begging you to come back. Chill. We'll fight to get rid of scumbags like this while you stay there. And if, in some far future when things change, assuming that you're still alive. You can still return, if you should so wish. We're cool like that.
posted by Splunge at 8:31 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you're deluding yourself if you think that she's stupid.

At the risk of Palin-derail, she's a cheerleader. Sometimes the cheerleader's team wins. This does not turn her into Gary Coleman's character from On The Right Track.
posted by rhizome at 8:34 AM on May 20, 2011


I'm at work and don't have time to read all the comments, but I did want to make sure that the words "fucking idiot" were attached to anything about Walker

and, just to be sure.. FUCKING IDIOT
posted by tomswift at 8:37 AM on May 20, 2011


Splunge, the thing is, I still vote. Just like you do. And shit, it hasn't changed. In fact, it's getting steadily worse. It's fascinating, every time I come back. I feel like I'm the frog getting tossed in the roiling boil and saying, hey, fuck this, this isn't what I signed up for. The problem is, when I mention that to any of the people I know who've stayed, who fight the good fight like (thank you) you're promising to do, they all say I'm overreacting.

But it's nice to be thought of as someone who doesn't care, doesn't count, or, you know, should just shut the fuck up since I've found somewhere else that isn't so backwards. But hey, thanks for letting me know that I can still come back someday and all.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:38 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Silentgoldfish: "Is this an American thing? In Australian healthcare the rule is "family is who they say they are." Gay partner? Straight partner? 3rd cousin twice removed? Hetero-life-mate? I've been working in hospitals for 9 years now and I've NEVER seen someone turned away from a sick person."

Yeah - i have no clue why the hell people can't visit if the person wants them to. If there's a problem, then say "no" and person is denied.... It's so archaic and I don't really know why it's done this way.
posted by symbioid at 8:39 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aside from the complete immorality and shittiniess of the position, how can denying those visits to gay partners be in any way good politics?

Because it subordinates someone's same-sex partner to their heterosexual family. It gives homophobic family members a legal basis for shutting out the "pernicious influence" of their gay relative's partner.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:40 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still vote.

Not to pile on or place any blame, because a) I have no problem with Americans wanting to live abroad and b) none of does as much as we could, but there is more that one can do to be an active participant in democracy than just vote.
posted by naoko at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, the more groups of voters he ticks off in the next six months, the easier the recall is going to be. So I would say, have at it Governor. Go ahead, now is your moment. Let your banal-evil flag fly! Kick cats and little old ladies. Cancel Hannukah and Kwanza. Put locks on all the public restrooms. Make a big new tax on cheese! Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Do that Evil thing you do so well, Mr. Walker, now's the time - because pretty soon the voters of Wisconsin are going to tell you to Take A Walk.
posted by newdaddy at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2011


Ghidorah: "With all of the shit going on in Japan, my wife keeps saying, hey, let's move to America. The thing is, she has no idea what's going on back home. I've been keeping track, and I'm always saying, no, let's stay here, in Japan.

Yeah, that's right. I'd rather stay where there is a non-zero chance of my government lying/not-knowing whether or not the salad I eat for dinner is going to give me cancer or not than move back to the States. Seriously.
"

Ha! Like TEPCO? LOL...
posted by symbioid at 8:45 AM on May 20, 2011


He's not eligible for recall until he's been in office for a year.

And for those wondering, here's the countdown.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:49 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mother works in a hospital and has stories of same sex partners not being allowed to visit because the patient's parents are homophobic. So this really happens.
posted by desjardins at 8:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


can y'all take the Japan derail someplace else?
posted by desjardins at 8:50 AM on May 20, 2011


Meanwhile, Le Page dons his gorilla suit and diving helmet and prepares to slouch down from Maine to do battle for the title.

Bravo for the Robot Monster reference.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:54 AM on May 20, 2011


You don't have to be smart to be an effective demagogue from the sideline, which seems to be her current career. But she has self-sabotaged almost everything she has attempted as a career politician, and they have all been idiot errors.

If stupid is the ability she's had to galvanize the media, take hostage the national political dialogue, and mesmerize metafilter into a state of frothing rage, then yeah, she's a complete imbecile.
posted by blucevalo at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2011


Me:Government has incentivized certain living arrangements because they are conducive to starting stable families and with gay couples there is less likelihood that that will happen. I can disagree and think they are probably just making excuses and they just want to legislate away the bland discomfort of living in a changing world.

Hippybear:Not entirely sure what you mean by this, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps you are trying to rationalize someone else's viewpoint and not actually stating your own.

But yeah, that's an ugly thing which you should never say again, even if you're trying to rationalize someone else's viewpoint.

First of all. I do legitimately appreciate the bennefit of the doubt. I was (I think obviously) trying to rationalize someone elses viewpoint, but I think beyond that there was a further misunderstanding. When I say family, I don't mean a married couple. I mean a married couple with children (I used the phrase start a family which should make this clear). This is definitely less common with gay couples than straight couples. Would it still be less common if gay people had the same access to adoption that straight people have? I think yes. You can't accidentally adopt a kid. I have no idea whether gay couples/families are more or less stable than straight families. I tried to communicate carefully and am willing to aknowledge that the word "stable" probably has a lot of baggage in this context that I wasn't sensitive to.
posted by I Foody at 9:09 AM on May 20, 2011


You can't accidentally adopt a kid.

I think that's actually an argument suggesting that gay families would be more stable that straight families, not less.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:13 AM on May 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think there have been a number of studies, both in terms of divorce and how "well adjusted" the children are, and same sex couples typically score higher than heterosexual ones.

I don't have any links to back this up, and I only remember because it was so wonderfully antithetical to everything that the people with an anti-gay agenda had been shouting.

But it always struck me funny.
posted by quin at 9:19 AM on May 20, 2011


But it is also an argument that Gay Couples are less likely to start families. THIS IS THE SOURCE OF THE CONFUSION. Less likelihood of starting stable families is contingent on a combination of STARTING A FAMILY + THAT FAMILY BEING STABLE. All I was saying was the percentage chance of STARTING A FAMILY (having children) is lower for gays. If stability is held constant gay couples are less likely to Start Stable Families because they are less likely to start families at all.
posted by I Foody at 9:20 AM on May 20, 2011


Yeah, I think I'm going to just say that a same-sex couple living together as a unit is as much of a family as a heterosexual couple with a dozen children, and leave it at that.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


quin - there was this post a while ago about the children of lesbian parents doing better than their peers.
posted by Vibrissa at 9:28 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get how Wisconsin Family Action has standing to bring this lawsuit in the first place.
posted by straight at 9:30 AM on May 20, 2011


hippybear, I agree but the ideomatic expression "start a family" typically means "having kids". Childless married couples are asked if they are thinking about "starting a family". I don't want to drag this out but I also don't like the idea of a semantic misunderstanding causing my words to be taken in a way that is the least bit hurtful.
posted by I Foody at 9:30 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If stability is held constant gay couples are less likely to Start Stable Families because they are less likely to start families at all.

You say that as if it's fact. I'd like to see stats if you're going to make that kind of assertion, which implies that there are data to back it up. Otherwise, don't sell your opinion about Gay Couples as if it's fact.

And no, the idiomatic expression "start a family" does not necessarily mean biologically having kids as a heterosexual couple.
posted by blucevalo at 9:51 AM on May 20, 2011


This does happen. I'm originally from a very small town in a very sparsely populated part of North Dakota. About two years ago the lifelong partner of a local woman passed away after a long fight against cancer. The hospital and the partner's family denied her access to her partner as she lay on her deathbed.

This isn't politics, this is not morality -- it's cruelty.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:59 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


nathan_teske: stories like that break my heart. like the situation with Sharon Kowalski (which was an issue of guardianship, but definitely about 'what is family').
posted by rmd1023 at 10:09 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


blucevalo : You say that as if it's fact. I'd like to see stats if you're going to make that kind of assertion, which implies that there are data to back it up. Otherwise, don't sell your opinion about Gay Couples as if it's fact.

C'mon, seriously? You need to see data to support a trivially-true statement? No wonder these discussions never go anywhere...

Here ya go: "Parenthood is one of the most universal and highly valued experiences of American adults. However, lesbian and gay adults in the United States are much less likely than heterosexual adults to be parents." (Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 24(1), Feb 2010, 78-81.)


And no, the idiomatic expression "start a family" does not necessarily mean biologically having kids as a heterosexual couple.

Of course it does, almost without exception. Do you ever hear about (post-reproductive) retirees getting remarried as "starting a family"?
posted by pla at 10:12 AM on May 20, 2011


"...different-sex couples are more likely to have children."
From Same-Sex Couples and Same-Sex Couples Raising Children in the United States based on 2000 census data.

Also I never said anything even remotely claiming "start a family" necessarily meant biologically having kids as a heterosexual couples. I only stated the phrase typically meant to have kids. At all.
posted by I Foody at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2011


The whole thing about traditional marriage being (solely? depends on who you're arguing with, and how backed into a corner by their own illogical arguments they are) about Starting a Family i.e. having kids is horseshit anyway, since we don't prevent infertile couples from getting married because OH NOES THEIR INABILITY TO HAVE BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN MEANS THEY WILL DESTABILIZE ALL THOSE NICE REAL FAMILIES!.

For the record, I don't read I Foody as being in favor of this line of reasoning, or anything like that. Just to be clear.
posted by rtha at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2011


Note to anyone who asks "why wont they just settle for civil unions. Why does it have to be the word marriage?"

This is why.

Remember when Hawaii governor Linda Lingle vetoed civil union legislation?

When offered a shot at imitations of equality they are still going to say no.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:23 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those idiots have now got the ideological government they deserve, and Wisconsin has completed its transformation into the Alabama of the North.

Here's the thing, though: human rights aren't subject to the whim of the electorate. That is why having a kick-the-bums-out does not give the new administration the ability to enact any legislation or pursue any policy they want. People still have rights, and some things are beyond the pale; for most MeFites, it certainly seems as if this is.

Also, I have said before and I will say again that a lot of us didn't vote for this administration, and did everything we could to prevent these people from coming to power. Many of us have done literally everything within our power to stop this, and some of us have given up quite a lot to be on the front lines of this fight.
posted by yomimono at 10:25 AM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


pla: Of course it does, almost without exception. Do you ever hear about (post-reproductive) retirees getting remarried as "starting a family"?

Of course it does if you say it does. How silly of me.

C'mon, seriously? You need to see data to support a trivially-true statement? No wonder these discussions never go anywhere...

I said that I'd like to see stats (not that I needed to see them), and you gave me stats. Case closed.

I Foody: Also I never said anything even remotely claiming "start a family" necessarily meant biologically having kids as a heterosexual couples.

Point taken. I apologize for misreading.
posted by blucevalo at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hospital visitation rights is the issue that really made me stridently in favor of marriage equality.

Before Sharon Kowalski, if you had asked me if I was in favor of gay marriage, I would have been, "Yeah, sure, I guess so."

But after seeing how hard Karen Thompson had to fight Sharon's family for the basic rights any spouse simply takes for granted, it's been "Absolutely. No doubt about it."

Denying gay couples the right to marry is the truly immoral act.
posted by marsha56 at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


During the legal arguments leading up to MA getting marriage equality, one of the issues discussed was the issue of reproduction. Since the state doesn't care whether or not straight couples getting married are fertile, it's a moot issue in the question of state definition of marriage. Having a hysterectomy didn't disqualify me from marrying a man; it shouldn't have an influence on whether or not I can marry the woman I hope to spend the rest of my life with.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:43 AM on May 20, 2011


This bold move has definitely proven to me that Scott Walker is not a gay man, and that he likes girls. No gay man would do something like this! Scott Walker is obviously deeply in love with his wife and finds her sexually arousing.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:01 AM on May 20, 2011 [9 favorites]



Is this an American thing? In Australian healthcare the rule is "family is who they say they are."

I think there might be an issue of the power the medical system seems to assume here along with the issue of domestic choice.
posted by namespan at 11:05 AM on May 20, 2011


So, is it the metafilter consensus that the executive branch has an obligation to defend a law in the courts even if that law is obviously unconstitutional?
posted by Dolukhanova at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2011


It's not my consensus; I won't speak for anyone else. I think the question of when or if the executive branch chooses to defend or not defend a law is nuanced and complicated, and involves a lot "well, it depends."

In the case of Walker being all Yay, Heterosexual Marriage is Awesome and Must be Defended from Attack by Teh Gays, well, there's no nuance there: he's a douchebag.
posted by rtha at 11:29 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't it just adorable when Republicans pretend to care about the social fabric? See also: Medicare.
posted by wowbobwow at 11:50 AM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If stupid is the ability she's had to galvanize the media, take hostage the national political dialogue, and mesmerize metafilter into a state of frothing rage, then yeah, she's a complete imbecile.

Oh, very stupid people have managed to do each of these. She's managed the Triple-Crown because she's the spokesperson for the greatest conglomeration of American idiots in recent memory.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of possible interest to folks in this thread: the Minnesota state house is likely to vote today on referendum on the ballot in 2012 to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage (it already passed the senate). They just recessed until later this evening; I've been following the NoH8MN hashtag.
posted by Vibrissa at 12:43 PM on May 20, 2011


So, is it the metafilter consensus that the executive branch has an obligation to defend a law in the courts even if that law is obviously unconstitutional?

I'm going to go out on a limb here, because I don't know much about this particular branch of the judicial system. For reference, here is a timeline of these events. The group Wisconsin Asshole Families Wisconsin Family Action is seeking to have a Wisconsin state legislation that creates the Domestic Partnership Registry ruled unconstitutional because of the 2006 constitutional amendment that says that gays can't marry or even pretend to marry or act like they're married or whatever in the eyes of the state. The registry in question was created as part of a budget bill, passed by the Senate and Legislature. It is currently being contested in Dane county circuit court (Appling v. Doyle) and was being defended by a state-appointed attorney because Van Hollen has always hated it and believes it is unconstitutional so he refused. The state appointed a different attorney (Piles) to defend it. He was fired and now Walker does not want the legislation defended. I was thinking that since it's a piece of state legislation the state would defend it if it was being challenged. I'm really not sure who else would defend legislation as being constitutional. My understanding - what I am constantly told - is that we have the laws we have, and until they're changed or ruled to be unconstitutional, we have to live with them and accept them even if we don't agree with them. If that's changed at some point in time, please let me know, because I'm going to start growing hemp. If it hasn't, bring it to court, mount a defense, half-assed as it might be, and let the judge make a decision. Not too hard, is it?
posted by nTeleKy at 1:20 PM on May 20, 2011


I've been following the NoH8MN hashtag

I wish you the best of luck. I did my best, but I don't even think I got my own mother (who know I am gay) to change her position back in 2006. It was sad. We did manage to not re-instate the death penalty, though, so that's....what it is. This is all just so absurd. I'm going to go work on something nice and beautiful.
posted by nTeleKy at 1:27 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, is it the metafilter consensus that the executive branch has an obligation to defend a law in the courts even if that law is obviously unconstitutional?

Emotionally, I feel good about the executive doing things in support of causes I care about and bad when the opposite happens. Which means, yeah, I cheer inside when Obama says he doesn't want the DoJ to defend DOMA and I grumble and yell when Walker refuses to defend the domestic partner registry. But intellectually... I don't have any good arguments for that double standard (if you have good arguments, please share them with me), so I guess I'd fall on the side of defending all the laws, even the ones I don't like.
posted by Vibrissa at 1:34 PM on May 20, 2011


If stupid is the ability she's had to galvanize the media, take hostage the national political dialogue, and mesmerize metafilter into a state of frothing rage, then yeah, she's a complete imbecile.

Well, okay. She's at least as smart as balloon boy's dad, then.
posted by MrVisible at 1:40 PM on May 20, 2011


Holy jumping stickfighting Christ, was launching kittens out of trebuchets just losing its kick for Walker or something?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:13 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Between Scott Walker and Joe Arpaio, who would win Douchebag of the Century?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway - The real fight happened in 2006 and the people, the Sconnies - voted in a huge (60%+) margin to deny basic human rights to gay people.

I worked that election, walking door-to-door for Fair Wisconsin in Beloit. The campaign was run out of the Beloit College Womyn's Center house, if I remember right. That was a heart-breaking loss.
posted by gc at 11:54 PM on May 20, 2011


Between Scott Walker and Joe Arpaio, who would win Douchebag of the Century?

As it stands today, Arpaio BY A FUCKING MILE.
posted by rhizome at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


In happier news: Dane County judge strikes down collective bargaining law
A Dane County judge has struck down Gov. Scott Walker's legislation repealing most collective bargaining for public employees.

In a 33-page decision issued Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi said she would freeze the legislation because GOP lawmakers on a committee broke the state's open meetings law in passing it March 9.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:02 AM on May 26, 2011


Caught on tape: Wisconsin GOP looking to run fake Democratic candidates in recall elections
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on June 3, 2011


Christ, what assholes.
posted by rtha at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2011


Nothing, and I mean nothing, would surprise me at this point. Thanks, Republicans, for introducing a whole new level of cynicism into our political process!
posted by desjardins at 12:47 PM on June 3, 2011


Walker orders painting of Milwaukee children removed from Gov. mansion.
posted by drezdn at 1:36 PM on June 6, 2011


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