On Monday Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and County Executive Joe Parisi will be participating in a rainbow flag raising ceremony at the city’s municipal building. .
This past week the mayor put forth the invitation by saying, in part, “we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and the beginning of the gay rights movement in this country. We’re also celebrating the 5th anniversary of the first legal same sex marriages in Wisconsin. You likely know that in 1975 Madison became the first place in Wisconsin and one of the earliest in the country to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by amending its Equal Opportunities Ordinance. And that in 1982 State Representative David Clarenbach skillfully led the fight to pass a first-in-the-nation state gay rights law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus.”
Those who live in Madison, at times I suspect, take the civil liberties we enjoy for granted. But we all know there are many places around this nation where such a flag raising on the municipal building would be met with protesters and beat-downs. We fought long and hard for the rights we do have in Madison and Wisconsin.
Even if you are not able to be at the ceremony please take a moment and lift the flag in your mind at some point on Monday. Civil rights are always under attack by those who wish to undermine them in an attempt to roll back time. We must always be vigilant and steadfast in our desire to see society move forward.