Re "It Was a Surprisingly Quick Engagement," Aug. 31: My partner and I recently returned from Toronto, where we were legally married. Everyone we came in contact with, even employees at the marriage license bureau, was supportive and encouraging. I was told that in Canada there are no second-class citizens, all are granted equal rights. Same-sex marriage in Canada is a nonissue.
Americans will have a choice in determining this issue. Will they sit back and let some religious and political conservatives waste billions of dollars and years of court time to fight against same-sex marriage or, like Canada, realize this is a nonissue and start tackling some of our real problems?
I read with interest your article regarding the "quick" acceptance of gays and lesbians in the U.S. Since 1982 I have been a volunteer in fighting the AIDS epidemic; since 1990 I have been a registered nurse in the same epidemic. From 1990 to 1995 I lived in San Francisco and worked at San Francisco General Hospital's Ward 5A AIDS unit. It was my first job as an RN.
The years that I worked there I watched families come from all over the U.S. to find that not only were their sons dying but they were also gay. At first many were distant, but within a few days most opened not only to their sons but also their sons' friends.
I spoke with many about the change, and they shared with me that they were so impressed by the love and the care that the gay and lesbian community had given their sons and themselves that it didn't matter anymore what sexual orientation someone was. We have paid a huge price for our acceptance, as all minorities do; marriage is just another equality that we so rightly deserve.
Gary S. Davis RN
When the law (which governs external actions) and religion (which governs inner motivations) both endorse what was regarded as perverse, it's not surprising to see "quick engagement." Our moral compass is spinning out of control. Since our lawmakers permitted sexual deviancy in private, and religion is being legally muzzled from discriminating against alternative sexual conduct in public, nothing will prevent gay marriage -- and ultimately bestiality, pedophilia and other sexual lifestyles -- from eventual lawful protection.
Those who interpret law and religious values as changing with the customs cannot help but eventually legalize perverseness when it becomes mainstream enough. When an unchanging God is eliminated and our deteriorating values rule, what anchors morality?
In all of the arguments against same-sex marriage, there wasn't a single explanation of how such unions can actually harm someone else's marriage. Opponents claim we must protect the "institution" of marriage. Protect it from what?
An institution is an abstraction and has no objective reality. A marriage, on the other hand, is a civil contract and, as such, is whatever the laws say it is. Moreover, every critic in your article spoke from a religious viewpoint. Though each of us has the right to embrace any religious belief (or none at all), no one has a right to impose that belief on others.
Forrest G. Wood
Thank you very much for your front-page article on same-sex marriage. As part of a monogamous, three-year same-sex relationship with my domestic partner, I feel that the article failed to recognize the key issue behind why gays, including myself, want to be able to marry.
Granted, the institution of marriage as it stands is housed within the concepts of love and romance. Yet when a man and a woman are legally married, they enjoy certain benefits that are provided by the legal contract of a marriage certificate. These rights relate to inheritance, hospital visitation, health-care decisions and co-ownership of assets.
Therefore, although your article was focused on the theoretical side of the debate (acceptance, social norms, culture), my focus -- that of most educated and committed gay and lesbian couples -- is entirely practical.
Corona del Mar
President of the Parents Television Council L. Brent Bozell says the hit TV show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" makes him "want to vomit." To Mr. Bozell, I say: Your homophobia makes me want to vomit. So now we're even.