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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Defending Cheney's Right to Dissent

August 27, 2004

I am not a Dick Cheney fan, but I was surprised and pleased to see him dissent with President Bush's position on gay marriage (Aug. 25). It's interesting to see that Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, questions "why the vice president is allowed to depart from this position when the top of the ticket is unified on all other issues."

"Allowed"? Wow! What has Perkins been reading, the Patriot Act? Americans have the right to dissent. Gay daughter or no, Vice President Cheney is simply speaking his mind, which he has the right to do. Would The Times be interested in interviewing Perkins on his position on civil rights? The Constitution?

I am voting for Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards. But I would back Cheney's right to dissent all day long. If the vice president can't speak his mind, what about the rest of us?

Amy Dennis

Ojai

If having a gay relative or friend affects your view on gay marriage, as it appears to be the case with Cheney, I hope Bush gets in touch with anyone he personally knows who has lost his job, needs a medical breakthrough or has a loved one serving in Iraq.

Willie Cervantes

Studio City

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