The Madison City Council voted 13-4 Tuesday to offer those taking an oath of public office a formal way to protest Wisconsin's new constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.
The resolution, passed after 45 minutes of debate, allows officials to make a supplemental statement to the oath that notes they took it under protest because they disagree with the constitutional amendment passed by 59 percent of Wisconsin voters in November.
The statement also says the oath-taker will "work to eliminate this section from the Constitution and work to prevent any discriminatory impacts from its application."
Bert Zipperer, president of the city's Equal Opportunities Commission, which brought the proposal to the council, said the vote was "an act of integrity" that "reflected a sense of hope that was deeply injured in November. This is not to undo the constitution. It's a voluntary statement for justice and liberty for all."
But Ald. Cindy Thomas, 20th District, who voted against the proposal, said the council's action set a dangerous precedent.
"You can't weasel your way out of your oath," Thomas said. "When people from afar hear about our vote on this, we will become a laughingstock."
Okay, people from afar: Are you laughing?