I am not in the habit of addressing one person in such a public fashion, but I feel I ought answer the questions publically directed at me by Rev. Hinz and clarify a few points.
First of all, my column was not directed solely at Rev. Hinz and his column. I apologize if he felt singled out.
I did not, as Rev. Hinz states, assert that we live in a purely secular nation. Nor I did not state that we must divorce morality from law. I said we must continue to keep religion and government separate. One can be moral without subscribing to a religion. And one can claim a religion without being moral. Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”
Rev. Hinz also stated that there is no right to marriage enumerated in our national or state Constitutions and therefore I am not allowed to call it a right. “Perhaps Liz would be willing to state specifically what civil right she is referring to,” wrote Hinz.
Here is my answer: I need not assert that marriage is a “right;” the Supreme Court did that for me.
In 1942 The Supreme Court of the United State of America unanimously ruled that the act of marriage was a fundamental right even though it is not in the Constitution. (Skinner V Oklahoma) In 1967 (Loving v Virginia) The SCOTUS declared “Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man.”
Rev. Hinz argues that, “…marriage is also a matter regulated for the public good.”
There is no public good served by limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples only. In his 1998 decision Alaska Superior Court Judge Peter A. Michalski stated that “marriage…is a fundamental right. The state must therefore have a compelling interest that supports its decision to refuse to recognize the exercise of this fundamental right by those who choose same-sex partners rather than opposite-sex partners.” (Brause v Alaska) Such compelling interest does not exist. The medical and psychiatric communities agree that homosexuality is not a threat to our society. It is not a sickness or a choice.
Rev. Hinz wrote, “If she (myself) would like to have the State’s criteria—the State’s definition of marriage— changed from the one man/one woman definition is has been since the founding of our nation to something else, she has every right to advocate for such a change.”
Minnesota’s definition of marriage and the nation’s definition of marriage have not always been one man/one woman. The In Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996—not 1776. The Minnesota State Supreme Court declared that “one man/one woman” was the definition of marriage in 1971. Until that time, it was simply assumed.
In the Brause case, Judge Michalski also stated, “It is the duty of the court to more than merely assume that marriage is only, and must only be what most are familiar with. In some parts of our nation mere acceptance of the familiar would have left segregation in place.”
Indeed, Judge Michalski is correct. Despite the 1967 Supreme Court ruling in Loving, the state of Alabama did not repeal its last law against mixed-race marriage until 2000.