“Who you love or who you are should never be used to hurt or discriminate against you.

My vision is a Wisconsin that welcomes all regardless of gender identity, expression or preferences. We all benefit when people are free to express themselves and their preferences without fear, hatred or discrimination.

We stand on the shoulders of Wisconsin activists who went before us. Now we must fulfill their legacy and create a Wisconsin that truly is open to all regardless of who they are and whom they love. ”
–Kathleen Vinehout


In 1982, Wisconsin led the way to nondiscrimination when we became the first state to protect lesbians and gay men from discrimination in housing, jobs and public accommodations. Passage of this law was the result of many years work by activists in Wisconsin. Lawmakers first introduced anti-discrimination legislation in 1971, just two years after patrons of the Stonewall Inn stood up to police raids.

We must return Wisconsin to our roots as a leader in laws that protect LGBTQ+ people.

As Governor, I will champion expanding our anti-discrimination laws to include protections for all people regardless of a person’s gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Further, the protections should move beyond the current law to include anti-discrimination in education, insurance coverage, jury duty and the receipt of mental health and vocational rehabilitation services.

My support for protections for LGBTQ+ people is long standing. As Senator I was a cosponsor of Senate Bill 328 that provides these protections.

I advocated for and support changing the law to make illegal the horrid practice of conversion therapy. (SB 261).

While same sex marriage is legal in Wisconsin because of the US Supreme Court decision, we must also do the work to change our state laws. I cosponsored and would be delighted, as Governor, to sign Senate Bill 327 that changes Wisconsin’s law to make marriage gender neutral and extend parentage rights to married couples of the same sex.

Further, we must repeal Section 13 of Article XIII of the state Constitution that restricts marriage (SJR 65).

Wisconsin must lift up and honor all those who worked for decades and advocated for gay rights and those who worked to create marriage equality. We honor those who came before us in the struggles for equality when we celebrate June as a LGBT Pride Month (AJR 31).

We remember those who have lost their lives because of hatred when we commemorate November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. (SJR 27)

Pride_1981St._Louis_Photo_by_Jim_Pfaff__1981._Used_through_permission_of_the_St._Louis_LGBT_History_Project._.jpgSt Louis Gay Pride Parade 1981

Photo by Jim Pfaff, 1981. Used through permission of the St. Louis LGBT History Project."

Read More About Stonewall in Kathleen’s 2009 Speech to the activists at Fighting Bob Fest.