Following Tuesday’s Election, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Will Now Swing From an Anti-Equality Majority to a Pro-Equality Majority In a State at the Center of the 2024 Presidential Election — With Lasting Implications for LGBTQ+, Voting, and Abortion Rights
MADISON, WI — The Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization — congratulated HRC-endorsed candidate for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Janet Protasiewicz on her historic election victory in a bellwether race that has generated significant national attention, and which will have important and lasting implications for LGBTQ+, voting, and abortion rights. Protasiewicz’s election victory over her opponent Dan Kelly — a Trump-endorsed former Supreme Court justice who has opposed LGBTQ+, voting, and abortion rights — means that Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will now swing from an anti-equality majority to a pro-equality majority in a state at the center of the 2024 presidential election.
“The Human Rights Campaign is proud to have endorsed Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz — a pro-equality champion who has spent her career fighting on behalf of LGBTQ+ people, women, and people of color,” said Geoff Wetrosky, National Campaign Director at the Human Rights Campaign. “This should be a clear message to candidates everywhere: Extremist, anti-equality messages may resonate with a vocal minority of far-right radicals, but they don’t win elections — especially in battleground states. Dan Kelly’s special interest supporters spent at least $800,000 on anti-trans attack ads and disinformation — repeating the same failed strategy we saw in the November elections. But as we saw in the 2022 midterms, and as we saw in Tuesday’s elections in Wisconsin, when voters are given the opportunity to make their voices heard, they make it known that anti-equality, anti-choice, and anti-democracy extremists have no viable pathway to victory.”
Anti-Equality, Trump-Endorsed Candidates Losing Ground with Voters
Wisconsin’s election adds to a string of recent pro-equality victories reaffirming that voters in battleground states — where presidential elections are decided — are distancing themselves from Trump-endorsed, anti-equality candidates who continue doubling down on anti-LGBTQ+ fear mongering. Tuesday’s election comes just months after the 2022 midterm elections, where pro-equality, pro-democracy, and pro-choice voters turned out in record-shattering numbers to secure a wave of historic victories for LGBTQ+ candidates, women, and candidates of color — and to deny extremists the so-called “red wave” they were banking on. As a result, we’ve seen landmark victories for LGBTQ+ rights in other battleground states like Michigan, which recently enacted its first statewide law to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, serving as further repudiation against extremist lawmakers waging anti-LGBTQ+ culture wars across the country.
At least $800,000 in anti-trans attack ads and misinformation was funneled into Wisconsin’s election by the Dan Kelly aligned group American Principles Project (APP) — spreading false information about transgender youth and attempting to weaponize anti-trans narratives as a wedge issue with voters. The effort fell flat with Wisconsin voters in Tuesday’s election, as it did with voters across the country in last year’s midterm elections when APP and other extremist groups invested tens of millions of dollars into peddling anti-trans rhetoric that failed to motivate voters in support of extremist candidates.
Justice-elect Protasiewicz — a circuit court judge in Milwaukee — has vowed to be a justice who protects the right to privacy, defends democracy, and restores confidence in judges. By contrast, Protasiewicz’s opponent Dan Kelly is anti-equality, anti-choice, and anti-democracy. In 2016, Kelly applied for a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, criticizing same-sex marriage in his application and saying that supporting same-sex marriage “will eventually rob the institution of marriage of any discernible meaning.” Kelly was endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life, Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Family Action and is funded by the Uihlein family, an anti-LGBTQ+ mega donor.
HRC Mobilizing Wisconsin Voters In Support of Pro-Equality Candidates
HRC has had staff and resources on the ground in Wisconsin since 2017. Across the country, HRC PAC works every day to elect pro-equality leaders who support policies that will support the rights and lives of LGBTQ+ people. HRC’s team on the ground in Wisconsin has consistently worked to mobilize our members, supporters, and Equality Voters to elect pro-LGBTQ+ candidates up and down the ballot.
HRC PAC is committed to engaging our volunteers, members and supporters to mobilize the nearly 715,000 Equality Voters in Wisconsin in support of pro-equality candidates. Equality Voters are a voting bloc of demographically and geographically diverse Americans who are united by the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality and were critical in determining the outcome of the Tuesday election in Wisconsin.
For more information on the Wisconsin election, or to request an interview with an HRC leader, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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