Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker responded to the news that the Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states with an almost predictable knee-jerk reaction: Allow the states to redefine marriage.
Yes, though conservatives have been screaming that the definition of marriage was being “redefined” by the granting of equal marriage rights to the LGBT community, Walker is totally fine with changing the definition now that the Supreme Court has determined in a 5-4 vote that “marriage” includes LGBT couples.
On Friday, Walker called for a Constitutional amendment that would allow states to decided what, exactly, “marriage” means. The Wisconsin Governor said that the ruling was a “grave mistake,” and renewed his call to amend his state’s constitution “to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism.”
“As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker said in the statement.
Walker blamed “five unelected judges” for what he called the redefinition of marriage — though the definition has not truly changed.
“The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas,” Walker said.
He assured Wisconsin residents that “your conscience rights will be protected, and the government will not coerce you to act against your religious beliefs.”
In 2006 Walker succeeded in pushing through a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The Star Tribune reminds us:
Walker has long opposed same-sex marriage. In 1997, as a member of the state Assembly, he voted for a bill to prohibit same-sex marriages and to declare those conducted in other states invalid. Walker was outspoken in supporting the state constitutional ban in 2005, when he was briefly a candidate for governor. “Many years ago, I concluded that we must change the Wisconsin State Constitution to say that marriage is to be between one man and one woman,” Walker said in November 2005. “My belief in this position is even stronger today.” He joined with 59 percent of voters in approving the ban in 2006.
In 2014, a federal judge overturned the state’s ban, declaring it to be unconstitutional. Perhaps Walker, who is expected to join the quickly-overflowing clown car that is the GOP presidential field, should attempt to understand the Constitution before trying to change it.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.