LGBT Community Celebrates Pride Weekend

By: NBC 15
By: NBC 15

Madison's LGBT community says its members deserve equal rights.

Sunday marked the end of Pride Weekend for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community. The event culminated in a rally for equal rights at the State Capitol, along with a parade down State Street.

The rally highlighted a recent decision by the state's Republican-controlled legislature, which denies health insurance benefits to same sex partners of employees at the University of Wisconsin.

UW-Madison is the only school in the Big 10 which does not offer such benefits, and UW officials say it hampers efforts to recruit talented teachers and teaching assistants.

One woman at Sunday's rally says she can't use the health insurance maintained by her partner of eight years. "Unfortunately, because in the state of Wisconsin Megan and I can't legally marry, she is unable to share with me the excellent health benefits she receives from the UW where she works as a teaching assistant," says Ingrid Akkerson.

Pride Weekend continues to grow each year. Organizers say this indicates growing acceptance of the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union and the state's attorney general say the legislature should stay out of a major gay rights lawsuit.

Last week, both told a judge Republican lawmakers have no legal grounds to battle a lawsuit seeking state-funded health benefits for the same-sex partners of state employees.

Republican legislators have reportedly hired the Christian advocacy group "Alliance Defense Fund" to represent their interests in the case, even though they are not named in the ACLU lawsuit.

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