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Same-sex marriage ruling

May 19, 2008

Last week's California Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage prompted an avalanche of mail, with roughly the same number of responses from each side. Given the intense reader interest in the topic, we are devoting today's page to it.

Eryn Brown

Letters Editor

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Re "Gay marriage ban overturned," May 16

As an attorney, I am surprised that it took so long for a court to reach the simple decision that if that state's constitution or the U.S. Constitution includes an equal-protection clause, then gay marriage must be legal. Although one can get married in a church, synagogue or mosque, one cannot get married without a license from the state. Marriage is a legal contract in all of the states in this country. If the law is that we are all equal, then the gender/sexual orientation of the two people seeking to exercise their rights cannot be the basis on which to deny that right.

No matter what others may say, this is not activist judging. It is applying a concept in the Constitution in a simple and direct manner.

Jordan

Trachtenberg

Los Angeles

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So-called progressive lawyers can now turn around and argue that polygamists are being discriminated against because they cannot legally wed in California. They can further contend that more than two people should be allowed to marry because they are consenting adults who love each other.

With a few strokes of a pen, traditional marriage has been dealt a crippling blow by four activist judges. For those who think I am being alarmist, I never thought that in my lifetime I would live to see the day a man could legally marry another man.

Sam Chaidez

Mission Hills

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On Thursday, four nonelected public servants betrayed 4,618, 673 Californians in legalizing same-sex marriage. These judges decided that their opinion was more important than a law that 61% of California voters passed in 2000. It's been awhile since I was in school, but since when did judges make law? I swore that was the job of the legislative branch.

Adam Cabrera

Upland

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I met my son when he was 4 1/2 . He called me Joel and his father Papa. When he was 7 years old, I married his father in a religious ceremony. About a week before, he started calling me "Dad." It was "Dad" this and "Dad" that, in every sentence and question.

A few days after the ceremony, as we sat around the dining room table, he said, "Dad, remember when I used to call you Joel?" as if it were years ago and not just two weeks. I said yes and asked what had brought about the change. He looked at me as if it were the most obvious thing in the world and said, "You got married to Papa."

He is right that we got married. But how could I explain that it was a religious ceremony and not a civil ceremony in the eyes of the state? That we could not partake in the rights that a civil contract gives, and that his life could be affected by that difference?

I wanted to be able to tell him that our family had all the protections and responsibilities given by those contracts. Now, almost three years to the day, I can! Marriage matters to kids and to families. Thank you, Supreme Court.

Joel L. Kushner

Los Angeles

The writer is the director of the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College.

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I know this is hard for evangelical primitivists to understand, but the California Supreme Court was not engaged in "judicial activism." Rather, the court did its job. It prevented a majority from legislating against a minority in an unconstitutional manner.

By the way, the greatest threat to the family is not gay marriage -- it is a nearly 50% divorce rate among straight couples.

Eric L. Nelson

Sacramento

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By being shortsighted and selfish, I fear that my fellow gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have handed our community a pyrrhic victory. While the argument is sound (just what part of "equal protection under the law" is confusing?) the timing could not possibly be worse.

We already have domestic partnership rights, and polls show that college and high school students overwhelmingly support equal rights for our community. All we had to do was wait a few years and marriage would have come our way.

Instead, in the most crucial election year in my lifetime, we have now unleashed the sleeping tiger on the right, and not only will we likely lose the constitutional battle to ban gay marriage, we have likely just handed John McCain California and the White House along with it.

Good going guys; thanks for nothing!

Charles Crawford

San Diego

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