National Praise For Senator Tammy Baldwin

When a determined effort for a just cause bears fruit there is a need to praise the ones who led the way forward.

US President Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act on the South Lawn of the White House, Senator Tammy Baldwin above the president’s head. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

That is the mood from the White House and across the country as Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin received sincere thanks and kind words as President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act.  Also meritorious of thanks were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Maine Senator Susan Collins. The majorities in each legislative chamber who gave their vote for passage were also part of the reason for the national uplift as the president added his name that concluded this law-making process.

It is not every bill signing in D.C. where those assembled get musical performances to highlight the significance of what was achieved by members of Congress.  Tuesday those on the South Lawn were treated to musical performances by Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith.  For those in the land who yearn for how Washington once worked when crafting legislation came the knowledge that the Marriage Act was passed with bipartisan support.  No matter from what perspective one looked at the ceremony there was something to cheer about with sincerity.

While watching the event, it struck me again how much progress has been made in this nation for gay rights.  While having been a Biden supporter since his short-lived and, yes, embarrassing presidential run in 1987, I readily admit to great displeasure with his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act in the 90s.  That political mistake from Biden made his signature of the Marriage Act even more meaningful, as it demonstrated how our society and the political culture have adapted to the requirement of including gay Americans fully into the laws of the land.

But as we know there are always reasons never to relent in that work of democracy.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated this summer in a concurring opinion in the Dobbs case that the same rationale the Court used to declare there was no right to abortion should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations, and same-sex marriage. Thomas wrote that the court “should reconsider” all three decisions, saying it had a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents. Then, he said, after “overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions” protected the rights they established.

Senator Baldwin has been a continuous advocate and skilled tactician within the senate so to achieve desired results with legislation. That was noted at the White House when Biden praised Baldwin by name, saying the bipartisan vote “simply would not have happened without the leadership and persistence of a real hero.” Wisconsinites could not agree more.

Those who voted against the bill and tried to thwart progress in this nation concerning civil rights will face the judgment of historians.  But first, they will undoubtedly, hear from gay relatives and members of their community.

Baldwin has always earned my admiration.  To be openly authentic in living her life and proving that a gay person can achieve continuous statewide election victories means more to me, perhaps, after having grown up as a gay teenager in a rural part of the state. I know many legal steps have been taken over the years to better secure gay rights.  But I never forget how it felt, when younger, to know there was no protection for two adults of the same sex who loved each other and only desired the same rights as others who were able to wed.  Baldwin never relented from doing her job with empathy along with an understanding of where our nation must head.

There is deep gratitude for Senator Baldwin and the many others in Congress who know the work of democracy continues.

3 thoughts on “National Praise For Senator Tammy Baldwin

  1. Cornelius_Gotchberg

    Kind of ironic that the guy signing this legislation VOCALLY displayed his opposition, in no uncertain terms, to SS marriage on national T.V. juuuust over 14 years ago.

    Come to think of it, the self-anointed Co-President of DOMA & DADT fame (Hillarity), and Hopeless Changey did the exact same thing at the exact same time.

    Surely, they ALL had EVOLVED, became admirably WOKE, and decided to Do The Right Thing, rather than bending to blatantly craven political expediency…like Robert Exalted Cyclops Byrd…right…?

    The Gotch

    1. Could we not place many of the names and faces from our workplaces, family tables, and neighborhood settings where the change in thinking has occurred in the same way on issues of gay rights, and in the same time span as the pols you mentioned? 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 while people of my generation came out and put one gay face at a time in every setting, from family reunions to every profession in this land, and demanded changes. Should we not, then, see the transformation in views and laws as a positive result of those efforts as opposed to cynical calculations? If there were pols to disparage would it not be those who now use the vestiges of bigotry that remain on this issue for their partisan ends?

  2. Dan

    Yes, the irony of people evolving!! Like the guy who was so instrumental in overturning “Roe”!!! Donald Trump’s connection to abortion rights dated back to 1989, when he co-sponsored an event at the Trump-owned Plaza Hotel honoring Robin Chandler Duke, the president emeritus of the National Abortion Rights Action League. In 1999, Trump explicitly expressed his pro-abortion rights views on “Meet the Press”, telling host Tim Russert that he was “very pro-choice.”

    People evolve and sometimes it is admirable, like when Robert Byrd left the KKK.

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