Re "Gay Couple Challenge State Laws on Marriage," Metro, April 21:
Kudos to Kathleen Kelleher for her carefully written, non-sensationalistic discussion of the "hot-button" issue of same-gender marriage.
It should be noted that nothing in the petition filed by my clients is intended to, or should be construed to, advance the proposition that any religious denomination may necessarily be compelled to depart from its own rules or canons to join a same-gender couple in matrimony. If a religious organization permits same-gender marriages, elimination of the gender bias from the law will confer legal recognition on such joinings. If, however, a denomination chooses to withhold its consent to a same-gender union, I would be the first to defend its unqualified right to do so. We cannot afford to confuse the sacrament of holy matrimony, which the theology of my ancestors teaches me is of God, with the civil contract of marriage, which is of the Legislature.
When all is said and done, what is at issue here are not "special rights" for anyone, but legal rights for everyone.
PAUL S. MARCHAND