Current Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) has been careful to avoid publicly expressing his official views on hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage. In the face of the looming November 4th election date however, Walker has begun to more aggressively court Wisconsin’s conservative vote. In an attempt to secure endorsement from Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative 501c(4) organization, Walker opened up about his stance on same sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.
"I would hope that my record and the stark contrast with my opponent's positions would garner your support," the governor implored, asserting his belief that marriage could only be defined as a union between a man and a woman.
Before becoming governor Walker openly endorsed a proposal for a same sex marriage ban within Wisconsin. More recently he’s dodged direct questions about his opinions on marriage equality given steadily shifting poll numbers indicating the public’s broadening acceptance.
"He hasn't been straight with people," said Mary Burke, Burke’s primary democratic competition. "He does owe it to the people of Wisconsin to be clear on these issues."
Walker reaffirmed his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, pointing to his decisions to cut funding, access, and support to abortion providers throughout the state. Last year Walker stealthily signed a bill into law that required women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds. The bill also drastically reduced the number of centers allowed to perform abortions by banning doctors without broader admitting privileges from performing the procedure.
"This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," Walker said of the bill, which he pointedly elected to sign in private.
Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.
“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible. We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.
The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic. But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay. Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country. And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on. If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality.
Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.
Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) has announced that the state will recognize the 550 or so marriages between same-sex couples that were performed this past June in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that found Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports:
Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said his administration would now treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples the same for issuing wedding licenses and "determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage."
Marriage equality was halted in Wisconsin after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's decision and decided to review the case. The 7th Circuit ruled unanimously against the ban. As a consequence, the state appealed the appellate court's ruling to the Supreme Court. The high Court passed on the case, leaving in place the 7th Circuit's ruling. Following that decision from the Court, a spokesperson for Governor Walker then commented, "Our office is working with the Department of Justice to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision and determine next steps for the state." Next steps that now seem to indicate a fuller measure of equality for Wisconsin's LGBT citizens.
Huge day for equality as gay couples in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin have finally secured the freedom to marry after the Supreme Court refused to review seven gay marriage cases before it this morning.
The court's decision has also paved the way for marriage equality to begin in Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Wyoming in the near future.
Tons of footage and pictures are streaming in from couples who are taking part in this historic day. Check out our rolling coverage AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)
(photo via Instagram)
Dane and Outgamie Counties in Wisconsin have begun issuing marriage licenses to Gay couples, WBAY reports. "Brown County, Calumet County and Fond du Lac County say they are waiting for more guidance from the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office."
"Today's action by the U.S. Supreme Court allows Judge Crabb's order to take effect. The Department, having made every effort to fulfill its duty to defend the state constitution, will now work with its state agency clients to implement the order."
A spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker (pictured) released this statement:
"Our office is working with the Department of Justice to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision and determine next steps for the state."
Dane County is home to Madison. Outgamie is home to Appleton.
UPDATE: Milwaukee and Waushara Counties will begin issuing licenses today as well.