A Democratic legislator sparked a major backlash this week when she labeled traditional beliefs about marriage “dangerous and un-American” and criticized the idea that children need a mother and father.
State Rep. Erin Healy, a Democratic legislator in the South Dakota House of Representatives, ignited the debate on Feb. 13 with a tweet denouncing the Family Heritage Alliance, a Christian organization that seeks to “champion the Judeo-Christian values of faith, family and freedom,” according to its website.
“Extremist group Family Heritage Alliance said this morning that the safest place for kids are in families that have a married mom and dad,” Healy tweeted. “What a dangerous and un-American belief.”
Extremist group Family Heritage Alliance said this morning that the safest place for kids are in families that have a married mom and dad. What a dangerous and un-American belief.— Representative Erin Healy (@RepErinHealy) February 13, 2023
Healy apparently was referencing comments made by the Family Heritage Alliance in a legislative committee.
“In committee, we made the claim that the home of a married mother and father is statistically the safest place for a child, and we stand by it 100 percent. We know that a strong, nuclear family is the safest, most beneficial place for a child to be. Research confirms our claim,” Norman Woods, director of the Family Heritage Alliance, told The Washington Stand.
Earlier that day, a House committee had voted down a bill that would change the definition of marriage within South Dakota law, replacing a man and a woman with “two persons.” Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2015 following the landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Healey labeled groups that oppose the bill “fundamentalist” and “extremist.”
She was widely criticized on Twitter for calling traditional, natural marriage beliefs “dangerous and un-American.”
“Is this a parody acct?” one person wrote.
“It’s a universal truth, so I guess you could say it’s un-American,” another person wrote.
“Labeling belief in a normal family situation as ‘dangerous and un-American’ is in and of itself dangerous and un-American,” still another person wrote.
A Muslim also chimed in.
“I’m a Muslim. We literally believe that the best place for a child is with a mother and father who are married,” the person wrote. “It is safest. Sex outside of marriage is haram.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.