Brian Hagedorn clearly does not have gay friends.
After reading the news today about the candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court it strikes me that perhaps he has never actually sat and talked with a gay person. There is no way that he could have had interactions with gay men and women and then sat at a computer and composed the hateful, and ridiculous views which made headlines.
As many readers know Wisconsin has a court race this April. The GOP for weeks have registered their concerns about his abilities at the polls. The news breaking over the state today proves their point.
Hagedorn wrote a blog beginning in 2005 in which he addressed readers as “fellow soldiers in the culture wars” while posting sometimes provocative comments on homosexuality and abortion.
For example, Hagedorn twice wrote that a landmark gay rights ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law could lead to the legalization of bestiality, sex with animals, in America.
“The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” he wrote in October 2005.
Lawmakers could draw a distinction between same-sex relationships and bestiality as a matter of public policy, Hagedorn wrote. But he called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning anti-sodomy laws a travesty that “should render laws prohibiting bestiality unconstitutional.”
“There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your own home (or barn),” he wrote.
Speaking of barns, let us also be clear what constitutes dung.
What created the darkness within Hagedorn, or what appeals to his desire to use homosexuality as a wedge issue, is something that he will need to deal with in therapy. What I know, along with the majority in this state, is that the vile words and legal harbors that he tries to create for unconstitutional views must not be allowed to gain traction on our high court.
Wrapping up in right-wing political Christianity is not how most voters wish their judicial candidates to appear. Pretending that the wrap can come off and allow for objective and rational legal reasoning on the bench is a leap that the voters of this state must not entertain.
As a 56-year-old gay man, in a 19-year relationship, I have had a few decades to think about the strides gay people have made with civil rights and legal rulings. I have also had time to take the measure of people who were strident in their opposition to gay rights. The biggest protesters come to see their views relegated to the trash bin of history.
From work to play, from grocery shopping, going to church, being a member of a neighborhood association, gay people have put faces to the issue, and in so doing, have helped persuade society towards a more healthy way of viewing our legal rights. What I find most troubling, and deeply concerning, is to have attempts made with dark political calculations aimed at trying to foster renewed bigotry or animus against gay people. I sincerely hope that Wisconsin Republicans, and true conservatives, can step up and denounce what Hagedorn has put into words.
Having grown up in rural conservative Waushara County I have seen both sides of the arc of history when it comes to gay rights. I never thought it possible when being continually bullied in high school for being gay, or dealing with the suicide of my gay friend who was also bullied, that there would come a day when marriage rights would be the law of the land, or gay couples would dance at junior proms.
People of my generation know that we put one gay face at a time in every setting, from family reunions to every profession in this land, and demanded changes. And it worked. Therefore, we must not allow one face–that of Hagedorn–to be allowed to interject bigotry back into electoral politics or from the high bench.
Anyone who equates homosexuality and bestiality does not belong on our bowling team, let alone the high court!