MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The founder and president of Freedom To Marry, a marriage equality campaign, says marriage cannot be defined by those who are kept from it in the eyes of the law.
“The best definition of marriage in our country and in our culture and under our Constitution is a commitment made, hopefully in love, between two people that is reinforced and regulated by the state through the issuance of marriage licenses,” said Evan Wolfson, an attorney.
Wolfson was scheduled to discuss the issue with Hoppy Kercheval, host of MetroNews “Talkline,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at West Virginia University’s College of Law during a free event that was open to the public.
Ahead of that talk, which student organization OUTLaw sponsored, Wolfson was a guest on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Wolfson said his message is a simple one. “If you or other Americans have the freedom to marry the person that matters most to you, so should a gay person have that freedom in the United States,” he said.
In West Virginia, state law defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
“Marriage is not defined by who is denied it. The fact that some people are kept out of marriage doesn’t define marriage, it simply restricts marriage to certain people and not to others,” argued Wolfson.
Wolfson was co-counsel for Baehr v. Miike, one of the first lawsuits to challenge the denial of same-sex marriage. He also contributed to the legal teams in a Vermont case which lead to the creation of civil unions and a Massachusetts case that dealt with marriage equality.
In 2000, Wolfson was in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to argue Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court supported the right of the Boys Scouts to expel Dale, a scoutmaster and Eagle Scout, because of his sexual orientation.
Wolfson wrote the book “Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People’s Right to Marry.”