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Commentary | LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Wedge, a Word, a Right?

March 06, 2004

I am angered by President Bush's push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. The bottom line is this: Gays and lesbians are not the enemy -- 9/11 has shown us who the real enemy is. Gays and lesbians are American citizens.

But, as usual, Bush is trying to create a wedge issue to divide Americans and draw attention away from other issues such as the war in Iraq, the poor economy, healthcare and job losses. This is a time when we must look to ourselves and ask whether we're going to let our leaders perpetrate hate and second-class citizenship upon people or if we will join the fight for equal rights. Rise up from the back of the bus, demand your place at the counter. And vote.

Stephanie Thomas

Burbank

My biggest problem with gay or same-sex marriage is that this change is being sought for the sole purpose of changing the English language. Since time began, fish were fish, birds were birds and married people were a man and a woman. Now that gay people can have the legal rights of straight people, why not find a word other than "marriage" to describe this union? Why should a minority change the meaning of that word for the majority?

If you're gay and don't like "domestic partnership," then find another word. But please, don't change a submarine into a bicycle. When I tell my children, "John is getting married," I don't want to be asked, "To a man or a woman?" My English has suffered enough.

Jerry Wallace

Beverly Hills

Why do people associate the business transaction of marriage with their religious rituals? It is baffling that the president finds it necessary to impress his religious beliefs into the Constitution. As a Catholic, I am personally against gay marriages within the church, but I feel that everyone should have the right to a civil marriage to whomever they choose. How many generations have to pass before there is a complete understanding of equality and freedom?

Richard Mejia

Laguna Niguel

So Bush wants to ban gay marriage. I thought the purpose of law and government was to protect people's rights and freedoms, not to diminish them.

Frank L. Atkin

Rancho Palos Verdes

Jonah Goldberg ("Raising the Volume," Opinion, Feb. 29) seeks not only symmetry in the culture wars but also wants to find a deep chasm to divide two sides of a nation that, by and large, has a culture united by history and aspiration. Along the way, he equates the offensiveness to secular liberal Americans of Judge Roy Moore's placing the Ten Commandments in a courthouse with the offensiveness to religious conservative Americans of civil marriage for gays.

However, what offended the liberals directly violated the very first words of the 1st Amendment, the Establishment Clause, presumably given pride of place by our founders for a reason. What could be more conservative than that?

Frank J. Gruber

Santa Monica

This isn't a wedge issue or a "president bent on dividing a nation" (editorial, Feb. 26). It's about preserving the definition of marriage as it has always been, which most people believe in. It's about a president doing what a leader is supposed to do, making the hard choices and doing what he believes is right.

Your editorial's arguments about the Defense of Marriage Act being sufficient are disingenuous. How can states be "laboratories" when judges overrule the laws of the people? How can we expect that the judiciary will not require other states to recognize the decision of a single state? In San Francisco, the law is apparently not relevant. What choice is left?

Mike Fitzsimons

Torrance

Bush warned me that gay people in San Francisco were getting married to each other and that, as a result, my traditional marriage is now threatened. But I just checked with my wife of 25 years and she told me our marriage is still doing just fine. Is it possible my president is misinformed? Misguided? Mistaken?

Art Verity

Van Nuys

An unjustified war, 3 million jobs lost, families allowed to go homeless and hungry and uninsured, the environment sold to the highest bidder, corporate raids on pensions unpunished, Social Security cuts threatened, education for the poor slashed to the bone -- these are immoral acts. Two men or two women holding hands and promising to take care of each other -- that's the most moral thing in the news these days.

Kate Carnell Watt

Riverside

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