I’ve delayed this as long as long as I could and then some, but Charlie called me out. This is part one of a 2-part series; part two will deal with the conservative/libertarian arguments against. I will be voting “yes” on the amendment in November for a mix of reasons.
The first reason is that it will, at least temporarily, keep the government definition of marriage as close to my religion’s (WELS) definition as government can keep it: 1 man and 1 woman. Despite the relatively-recent (and probably necessary) divergence between the Christian and government definitions of marriage (namely, “no-fault” divorce), the acceptance of adultery by society, and the rise of activism among both the gay and polygamist crowds, society as a whole still accepts the basic definition of marriage as being between 1 man and 1 woman.
Indeed, that divergence belies the claim that government does sanction a stable relationship through marriage. That leaves only special legal and tax statuses given to married couples based on the societial recognition that married couples do best with raising the next generation. Even here, most of those statuses can either be duplicated by non-married couples through legal processes or shifted into marriage-neutral policies. The only major “marriage-only” policy that cannot be replicated is the tax policy, which was written (imperfectly, as only government can write it) as a recognition that one parent works full-time and the other raises the children and maybe earns a small salary in a part-time job. Even though (in no small part due to goverment’s ever-growing appetite), this ideal is workable for fewer and fewer married couples, there are very few gay couples that would have children, and even fewer where that ideal would happen.
Related to keeping the government definition of marriage what it is, it is absolutely necessary to put this into the Wisconsin Constitution rather than Wisconsin state statute. As the lawgivers-in-black-robes in Massachusetts proved, activist liberal justices will use the most-obscure loopholes to void the will of the people as expressed by the Legislature. Indeed, it would be even easier in Wisconsin; we already have as part of the state Constitution an “equal-rights” clause based on sexual orientation. I’m surprised that the activists haven’t used this to hammer through gay marriage in Wisconsin.
Another reason for using the Constitutional process is that it is the only process that directly involves the people. Neither judges ruling by fiat nor the Legislature passing a statute does this. Morever, by putting it into the Constitution, it does not “freeze” the definition for all time; it merely takes the mechanism of change out of the hands of the state version of the lawgivers-in-black (only federal action could take it out of the hands of federal judges), as well as the unilateral hands of the Legislature. Instead, if Wisconsin society eventually does want to extend full marriage rights to gays, it will simply go through the same Constitutional process as this went through.