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Punishment for polygamists?

May 28, 2008

Re "Presumption of evil," editorial, May 23

I applaud The Times for at least being consistent in its defense of odd people -- in this case, polygamists. However, saying that "many of us find these people odd, their customs baffling," baffles me. Their sexual proclivities and customs are no more odd than other odd sexual pairings that many people now find acceptable.

I agree with The Times that this hysterical action by the state of Texas is more about religious bias than concern for the children, who look perfectly healthy and well cared for and who have loving families.

And is that not the criteria used now to sanction other odd lifestyles?

I say the states should leave these people alone and sanction the lifestyle of polygamists. After all, these people are exercising their God-given rights and constitutional freedom of religion.

Why sauce for the goose and not for the gander?

Curt Thiele de Leon

Pacific Palisades

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When I lived in Salt Lake City, I came into contact with numerous young women who had escaped from polygamist colonies after having been forced at age 13 or 14 to marry much-older men -- men who had been chosen by their fathers, men who in many cases already had multiple wives.

Many of these women had been sexually abused as children by their colonies' patriarchs. Some feared for their lives.

Perhaps the state of Texas acted overzealously by removing so many children from their homes. But something has to be done to protect the rights of girls living in polygamist colonies.

It amazes me that this violation of civil rights continues in the United States and is winked at by the media. Arthur Miller would have excoriated the zealotry, bigotry and cruelty of these fundamentalist patriarchs.

Gail Wronsky

Los Angeles

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