We need to recognize what has been lost in the two recent Supreme Court rulings. The most important issue was not Obamacare, nor was it gay marriage. The most important issue was whether we are still a nation governed by the rule of law.

In both rulings, the court made it abundantly clear that it does not care what the law says, nor does it care what the Constitution says. The court determined to force its will on the American people, even though its will is contrary to both our Constitution and our laws.

To be a nation that is free, we must be governed by the rule of law. We are now governed by raw political power, not law.

Whether we agree with the policies forced on us by the rulings or not, we should all recognize that we have lost far more than what anyone personally may have gained. Normally in court decisions there are winners and losers, but in these rulings there are only losers. For freedom, once lost, is difficult to regain. And freedom, once lost, means that we have given away the most precious commodity that America once had and that once made America great.

Allen Quist, St. Peter, Minn.

The writer is a former member of the Minnesota House.

MARRIAGE, SPECIFICALLY

Our family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends. That’s why.

President Obama just said “Love is love.” Wow, did I ever think this day would come? The U.S. Supreme Court says all couples will be allowed to marry. Unbelievable! Upon listening to just a few minutes of television coverage and then switching over to C-SPAN, I realized that this is unsettling to many people in our country. It makes me scratch my head and wonder. Where do they think gay people come from? They were not beamed down by Scottie; they were not hatched from eggs.

I am not trying to minimize such a momentous occasion, but I can’t help wondering why this is so hard for so many people to understand. The reason the nation has changed so fast with its thinking about same-sex marriage is because gay people are our family members or our neighbors or our co-workers. They are people we love and care about. If you are a religious person, you probably think as I do. God gave us this life, this family. We are supposed to care for and nurture our family members. It’s that simple. I’m so proud of our country for making this leap.

So even as I hear the vitriol from the right and the Republican presidential hopefuls, I am going to remember Friday as a great day for our nation. Love is the law.

Linda Cielinski, Wyoming, Minn.

• • •

Now that our representative Supreme Court majority has ruled 5-4 that our constitution guarantees marriage rights to all couples, we must make the best of it. Many of us traditionalists will continue to believe that religious sanctioned marriage was intended for man/woman relationships and the natural creation of children. Nontraditional relationships will continue to create new family possibilities throughout the land.

The court has ruled that all individuals deserve the right to legal marriage and the happiness of establishing a family. Going forward we must make the most of the possible benefits of all these new relationships for stable, loving families. Perhaps there will be more respect for children through adoption, acceptance of those disabled, poverty reduction of children, and continued trends to reduced abortion.

We must all respect the law, eliminate all traces of discrimination, and love and respect all our families.

Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis

• • •

The Obergefell decision mandating that individual states recognize gay marriage is a wonderful first step in wiping out legally sanctioned bigotry on the basis of sexual orientation. The next step is to eliminate tax-exempt status for charitable and religious institutions that discriminate against same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court ruled in Bob Jones University vs. U.S. (1982) that charitable/religious institutions are not eligible for tax-exempt status if they discriminate on the basis of interracial marriages. Obviously, the same rule would apply here — that an institution doesn’t receive tax-exempt status if it discriminates against same-sex marriages. The rule is simple: You don’t get a tax break for intolerance.

Joe Tamburino, Minneapolis

 

LAKE CALHOUN

If we’re looking to remember history, remember the Dakota

Gary Brueggeman’s June 26 commentary “Perspective on the namesake of Lake Calhoun” contains this sentence:

“The Army officers who discovered the lake that the Dakota called Mde Medoza — lake of the loons — dutifully gave it the name ‘Calhoun’ to recognize the official mostly responsible for the military even being there.” Brueggeman’s reason for keeping the name Calhoun is that it is a “reminder” of our national and regional history.

I would argue that this is more realistically evidence that the lake should be again called by its Dakota name, Mde Medoza, to recognize the history behind this region before the military established itself and began a reign that eventually included policies of exclusion and even annihilation of the original peoples that were living here. This is the more important reminder that “we should never forget.”

Patricia Eliason, Minneapolis

• • •

John Calhoun, a Southern segregationist, has a lake named after him. But we might also remember that there are many entities in Minnesota that bear the name Ramsey. Alexander Ramsey was, over the course of his life, mayor of St. Paul, governor, senator and member of President Hayes’ cabinet. While governor of Minnesota in 1862, he said, “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.”

Hermann Weinlick, Minneapolis

 

GARBAGE HAULING

What does choice mean? It means neighborhood disruption

Every Friday morning, my neighborhood becomes a war zone. From 7 a.m. to about 10 a.m., the quiet of my suburban street in Shoreview is broken by screeching air brakes, moaning hydraulic lifts and roaring trucks. It’s a garbage-truck war. Garbage-truck jockeys from at least four different companies race through the streets, screeching to a halt long enough to extend their hydraulic grapplers, snatch the green, blue or brown garbage cans, lift and throw the contents into their holds, then roar off to the next customer’s house. I can’t imagine what these behemoth trucks do to the street surfaces, let alone belching the stench of diesel everywhere they go. I wouldn’t want to be a kid riding a bike to a friend’s house on Friday mornings in my neighborhood.

I would be happy to have my city negotiate a single contract with some garbage company and put an end to the war of dueling garbage trucks. Ah, but this is America, and we have fought wars so we all have the right to pick and choose our garbage service. Aargh.

Michael Prouty, Shoreview