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Good-Bye and Thank You, Governor Dreyfus

Timothy Kincaid

January 3rd, 2008

dreyfus.jpgThe AP is reporting that Lee Sherman Dreyfus, Governor of Wisconsin from 1979 to 1983 passed away peacefully today.

Dreyfus, a Republican, ran as an outsider on a platform of fiscal conservatism and tax cuts. However he maintained moderate social values.

Our community owes a debt to Gov. Dreyfus.

Dreyfus signed the nation’s first statewide gay rights law in 1982. The measure made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations. Gay rights activists gathered in Madison last year to mark the 25th anniversary of the law.

Glenn Carlson, interim executive director of Fair Wisconsin, a gay rights group, said the law made Wisconsin a trailblazer.

“It really established Wisconsin in the forefront of nondiscrimination,” he said. “He’s been a great leader and will be sorely missed.”

After his retirement from politics, he remained an ally of our community. In 2006 he was a vocal opponent of the state’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions.

State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, was president of the Senate during Dreyfus’ term and with Dreyfus when he signed the bill.

“He had a real concern for the people of the state of Wisconsin,” Risser said. “He had a compassionate feeling. I consider him a good governor. … He was an inspiration to people.”

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.



January 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Rest in Peace Governor Dreyfus.

You will forever be a hero to me.

Jim Burroway
January 5th, 2008 | LINK

The Washington Post has a great obituary. They quote Gov. Dreyfus:

“It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party that government ought not intrude in the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served, and there is nothing more private or intimate than who you live with and who you love.”

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