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Congratulations, and criticism

June 20, 2008

Re "Hundreds married on historic day," June 18

The only thing missing from this headline is the exclamation point. But the real tipoff was the picture of two women kissing on the front page. It was inappropriate for many reasons, but mostly because it demonstrates a case study in advocacy journalism.

The Times should learn to contain its enthusiasm for gay marriage and respect that 60% of Californians voted against it. We have nothing against gay people and their rights to live their lives as they wish, but we consider marriage a sacred institution, not to be trifled with at the whim of those who choose different types of relationships. You do your readers a disservice with this type of reporting.

Paul Derouin

El Segundo

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Inspired by The Times' coverage of same-sex marriages, my partner of six years and I were married in West Hollywood.

I'm not exactly sure what role your front-page story played in Marc's and my decision, but it definitely opened us up to something we both had longed for over the years. (Marc is 60, I'm 72.) I was fascinated by every word and photo published about marriages performed throughout California. I cut the story out and taped it in a prominent position on the kitchen wall.

By 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Marc and I entertained the thought of driving by West Hollywood's City Hall to see what was involved in securing a marriage license. At 1 p.m., we were standing in front of a minister exchanging vows under a white tent. What a joyous day.

Grover Dale

Beverly Hills

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When my husband died suddenly, leaving me with two small children, I experienced firsthand the privileges accorded to married couples. I had no trouble accessing his bank accounts and retirement program, selling his car or transferring our home into my name alone. Many times I have wondered why civil society treats my relationship with my beloved husband as superior to relationships between people of the same gender. Only the two people in it can judge the quality, strength and importance of their relationship.

The California Supreme Court has reaffirmed my faith in the basic American values of fairness and individual rights. Congratulations to all those couples who now have the option of marriage to define their relationships.

Abby Arnold

Santa Monica

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Most members of the media refer to the California Supreme Court ruling as legalizing "same-sex marriage." This is misleading and inaccurate. While to some this may seem to be harmless semantics, words do matter.

The court actually ruled that the right to marry is a fundamental civil right, which cannot be denied to lesbian and gay couples. The ruling opened up the existing institution of marriage -- it did not create a new institution called same-sex or gay marriage. Using the phrase "same-sex marriage" implies a new and separate institution, which mischaracterizes this ruling. It is more precise to refer to marriages of lesbian and gay couples.

At its core, the controversy is about marriage rights, not about gay marriage. With the November vote less than five months away, it is vital that the media frame the issue accurately.

Julia Himberg

North Hollywood

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To all you well-meaning Christian folks who are planning an initiative against same-sex marriage, I'll make you a deal. I'll vote for your initiative if you'll vote for mine: A bill banning divorce.

Joel Rapp

Los Angeles

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In the last few days, gay couples all over California have been getting married. And guess what? My wife is still nagging me to clean out the garage, and my kids are still bugging me for money to go shopping. Also, for those who feared otherwise, I'm happy to report that the sun is still rising in the east and the Earth is still spinning on its axis.

Art Verity

Van Nuys

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Re "The right to love," editorial, June 17

The Times' editorial board has relinquished its power of reason for a textbook game of Find the Fallacy. According to The Times, "love" is equivalent to "sex," and harm to heterosexual marriages is set up as a straw man to be easily kicked over.

The word "marriage" is redefined, then the redefinition is used for attacks. The editorial features the childish argument that if one bad thing (unwed procreation) is allowed, another (same-sex marriage) should be also, and it is full of tired cliches that were never true (as in, same-sex marriage is equivalent to interracial marriage).

All human experience shows that marriage must be the lawful union between a man and a woman. To strengthen marriage is to strengthen that union.

Jeff Combe

Temple City

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Re "Gay pair sing new tune on marriage," Column,

June 18

For Steve Lopez to say, "And now they can finally stop living in sin" is tantamount to telling God that his commandments have been replaced by the California Constitution.

I pray the people of California will have enough of a conscience to change it in November.

Hilmar A. Rosenast

Valencia

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