University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

NEWS RELEASE

News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Meeting to Discuss Proposed Constitutional
Ban to be Held at UW-Eau Claire

 MAILED:  Sept. 14, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — A town hall meeting to discuss the proposed state constitutional ban on civil unions and same-sex marriage will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16th, in Room 100 of Schneider Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The UW-Eau Claire LGBT Straight Alliance, Action Wisconsin, the LGBT Community Center of the Chippewa Valley and other groups will host.

Featured speakers include John Guyette, Wisconsin state coordinator for the National Human Rights Campaign; Action Wisconsin executive director Christopher Ott; two Chippewa Valley lesbian couples; and Dr. Kimberly Barrett, associate vice chancellor for Student Development and Diversity at UW-Eau Claire.

Last spring, state legislators passed AJR 66, an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that would ban civil unions, domestic partnerships, and marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Marriage licenses give non-gay couples access to over 1,000 rights and responsibilities, including the right to make burial decisions for a deceased spouse or to visit a sick spouse in the hospital.

If the amendment passes another vote in the next legislative session, it could go before the voters of Wisconsin as early as April 2005.

"The Town Hall is a way for us to raise awareness about this amendment and how it will hurt real families in the Chippewa Valley," said Barb Stevens, president of the Chippewa Valley LGBT Community Center.

Robyn Thompson, publicity chair of the UW-Eau Claire LGBTSA, said, "Many younger people are more supportive of equality for gay couples than older generations. This Town Hall is a perfect opportunity to get our campus more involved in this issue. Our generation could make a huge difference if this amendment goes to a statewide ballot."

The town hall is sponsored by Action Wisconsin, ACLU of the Chippewa Valley, Chippewa Valley Technical College GBST, Closet Organizers, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT Community Center of the Chippewa Valley, Rainbow Families Wisconsin, the Social Responsibility Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Eau Claire, UW-Eau Claire LGBT Straight Alliance, UW Eau Claire Equality and UW-Eau Claire Staff & Faculty for Peace & Justice.

For more information, the media should contact Joshua Freker, Action Wisconsin, before Thursday at (608) 411-0143, Ext. 304 or josh.freker@actionwisconsin.org.

For more information about the constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage, visit their Web site.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
newsbur@uwec.edu

Updated: September 14, 2004