Dateline Wisconsin. A self-described “family man” helps lesbian and gay couples achieve legal recognition.

Bill McConkey wants to play fair in the fight for marriage equality in Wisconsin. He’s also a straight, married, Christian – with a lesbian daughter.

McConkey is trying to prove that wording of the constitutional amendment, as it was submitted to Wisconsin voters, violated Article 12 Section I of the Wisconsin Constitution.

Article 12 Section I states that the Legislature must submit referendums to the voters separately. The amendment passed last fall posed two questions. The amendment says that marriage only between one man and one woman would be recognized in the state. It also states that legal status similar or identical to marriage would not be recognized.

There are two issues. Whether to ban gay marriage and whether to ban civil unions.

McConkey believes voters may not want “marriage” for gays, but would approve of “civil unions” if given the option.

A Dane County judge ruled the lawsuit can go forward on grounds that McConkey was harmed as a voter by the wording of the voter question.

The Star Tribune recently published an interview McConkey did with the Associate Press.

In the Q&A, McConkey explains:

“As a student of history and as an educated person, I know the history and the implications of that mind-set. It began with that. I also have a gay daughter.”

He goes on to say, “I think ultimately I would say under the U.S. Constitution, the way it’s written, we cannot constitutionally deny the right of gay people to be married. Neither can the government order a church and say you have to marry gay people. That’s an important difference to me. ”

5 thoughts on “Dateline Wisconsin. A self-described “family man” helps lesbian and gay couples achieve legal recognition.

  • December 14, 2007 at 6:27 pm
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    Well said. You sound like a fair-minded citizen who might be straight too. Vote, vote, vote. Thank you McConkey family!

  • December 14, 2007 at 5:09 pm
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    Why are American’s so afraid of non-traditional family units? I think it is an inspiration for Bill to step up and help his daughter pursue marriage… or civil union.

    American was founded on the belief that all men are created equally, and our forefathers were inspired to fight for their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; why are they now allowed to decipher what someone else’s happiness is? Does it make them happy to know that there are people in their own neighborhood who simply want to love and be loved, and to be recognized for that?

    Growing up, I recall hearing that “history repeats itself”. Well, it seems to me that the American people are now placing gays, lesbians, and other people leading an ‘alternative lifestyle’ on the back of the bus, because 50 years ago, men and women of the ‘white’ population were afraid of African American people, and where did they sit?

    Where do they stand now?

    Why is it that as American’s, we feel safer with the label ‘civil union’, as opposed to marriage? Does that mean that people who were wed in a church are married, and people married in Vegas or in a courthouse in Madison, WI., are not? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, my friend.

    What about common wealth marriage? There’s a whole new can of donkey dung. Why are we labeling human beings to keep us apart, versus trying to find what makes us all the same? Today, the hot topic is human rights. Tomorrow, will children of alternative couples be sent to their own schools? Why not segregate them too??? After all, they have 2 moms or 2 dads who love them… but OH MY GOD!!!! They might turn your children gay too!!! Look how long it took (and continues to take) children of racially mixed ethnic backgrounds, to be accepted. Unfortunately, there are towns and cities all over this great FREE nation where that is not the case.

    This country is a country that millions have died to fight for. And they were not all heterosexual; or white; or single; or married. America is the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

    Thank you Bill McConkey, and your family, for maintaining your bravery.

  • December 23, 2007 at 6:49 pm
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    Mr. McConkey we applaud your efforts. As gay residents of the State of Wisconsin, we believe my civil liberties were infringed upon by the voters of the State of Wisconsin when they cast this vote. The U.S. Supreme Court found in Loving v Virginia (388 U.S. 1 (1967))”The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.
    Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, (1888).316 U.S. 535, 541 125 U.S. 190 To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.” Even though, this quote is in reference to race, the same argument is valid in regards to sexual orientation.

  • December 15, 2007 at 3:00 pm
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    Very well said. If more people felt the way your family does, this country would be a better place. We need family’s like yours in this country. Thank you so much for what your doing McConkey family.

  • December 15, 2007 at 6:12 pm
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    I thank you and so does the rest of my family.

    I am not critical of those who are afraid to speak up. Fear is a real thing. It is, however, up to us who are not afraid to fight those things we think art evil, wrong or dangerous. the Wisconsin amendment was all three. It was evil because political people used human beings as inanimate objects in a political fight for votes. The voters were not demanding this amendment. They want good schools, lower crime rates, honest legislators, decent roads. It was wrong because it violated our own Constitution in several ways. It is dangerous because it sets a precedent that allows a majority to isolate minorities and take away the basic human rights that we are all supposed to enjoy. Who is next, short people, the lower IQ’s, the Blacks, Jews, Catholics. What a dangerous precedent, indeed.

    We must not let these kinds of things go unchallenged. And, parents must not abandon their gay children, not ever.

    For me and my family, again, we say thank you. Bill McConkey

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