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Rights and Children in the Marriage Debate

March 02, 2004

The real issue of gay marriage is not a desire to "change what marriage is," nor is it to gain "free benefits" (letters, Feb. 27). The benefits that committed gay couples would like, which married couples take for granted, include: making spousal medical decisions; funeral and bereavement leave; permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation; right to inheritance of property; confidential marriage communications; and status as next of kin.

Why people in this country are so callous as to deny dedicated and loving couples these benefits that married straight people enjoy is mystifying. I would like to believe that those who are opposed to gay marriage have never thoughtfully considered their position. If they had, they would realize that the message they are sending is one of hate and intolerance.

Barbara Alfors

Santa Monica

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Paramount in importance in any debate on marriage is the right of married couples to adopt children. Experts -- not to mention 1 million years of evolution -- have demonstrated that children are best served by having a mother and a father. To place orphaned and foster children with same-sex parents can hardly be in the children's best interests. To do this on a grand scale would invite class-action lawsuits in the future by the children who were so unwisely placed on the grounds that the state had acted negligently.

Richard Brodie

Pacific Palisades

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Re "The Politics of Gay Marriage," editorial, Feb. 26: The Times seems "shocked, shocked" to find politics in pronouncements emanating from Washington. I find your shock disingenuous. However, if the idea is that marriage is not to be the union of one man and one woman, then what is it? Indeed, unions between one man and several women have existed in many societies and between one woman and several men in a few, so where do we go if we enter this thicket? Perhaps the president is right after all.

Ron Thomson

Cheviot Hills

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Shame on President Bush for using the well-being of children and "the preservation of marriage" as excuses for legal discrimination against same-sex couples. As a minister whose faith is grounded in the Jewish and Christian traditions, I have officiated at hundreds of weddings, for both straight and gay couples. And I have ministered to many families, some with straight parents and some with gay parents. Never have I found the gay couples or gay parents to be any less loving, faithful, tender or responsible than their straight counterparts.

Bush's call for a constitutional ban on gay marriage is moving us away from love and freedom and instead toward fear and repression.

The Rev. Anne Felton Hines

Emerson Unitarian

Universalist Church

Canoga Park

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So Bush has decided to focus on gay marriage this election year, this while our men and women are dying in the quagmire called Iraq, Osama bin Laden is still missing in action and our country reels from record deficits while too many citizens suffer from unemployment. I have one question: President Bush, where are your priorities?

Christopher Dye

Sherman Oaks

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