Re "Governor Says Law Permitting Gay Marriage Would be 'Fine,' " March 2: You report that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is OK with same-sex unions yet continues to criticize San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for what some have called "legal anarchy" for violating the California statute defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. So far, no court has recognized any urgency requiring intervention. Actually, Newsom is standing on solid ground.
When judicial or administrative authorities face two contradictory laws, they must decide which one takes precedence. Constitutional provisions take priority over statutes. Newsom rightly notes that the state Constitution's guarantees of equal protection outrank the statute that defines marriage.
In any case, selective civil disobedience to promote human rights is not always a bad thing. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. clearly violated Southern laws mandating legally required racial segregation, yet today are recognized as heroes.
In "Raising the Volume" (Opinion, Feb. 29) Jonah Goldberg ignores two constitutional principles in his objection to gay marriage: separation of church and state and equal protection under the law. This is another example of the majority religion attempting to foist its beliefs on every American. President Bush constantly invokes God in his speeches, as if his religion were that of us all, while Christian fundamentalists want prayer in school and God maintained in the flag salute. These positions are no more correct than if I wanted to call for Allah's protection before a city council meeting or require elementary school students to wear yarmulkes and recite Buddhist sutras.
We are not all Christians in this country. We do not all believe in the Bible. And this is our most basic right. Forty years ago, plenty of Christians were offended by interracial marriages, but this did not lead to a constitutional amendment to take away minority rights. The same principle holds true today for gay marriage. Religious zealots should not be allowed to co-opt a Constitution that, last time I checked, belongs to us all.
Please tell Bush to keep his Bible out of my Constitution.
Re "The Politics of Gay Marriage," editorial, Feb. 26: Our society and laws prohibit bigamy, polygamy and incestuous marriages. Why, then, do activist judges and misguided liberals demand homosexual "marriages"?
The core issue, clearly, is morality. Is homosexual behavior moral or immoral? Since it is by nature's and God's laws immoral, then discrimination against "gay" marriages is patently just, not unjust.
What no one seems to want to discuss is that sexual orientation is not something one chooses like a pair of shoes. Unless and until we acknowledge and accept that men and women can no more choose their sexuality than they can the color of their skin, we will not be able to address the fundamental human rights issue at the core of this political hot potato.
Quite simply, if a person cannot help being gay, then who are any of us to tell that person that he or she has to live in a manner we think is acceptable?
The gay community is full of hard-working, good-hearted people (yes, and just as in our straight world, there are some not-so-nice folks too). They pay taxes just like the rest of us, and I can think of nothing more un-American than to deny these people the opportunity to declare their undying love to another in a manner befitting that of any straight couple.