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Gay rights: Weighing Prop. 8, religion and morality

March 26, 2013|By Paul Thornton
  • City employee David Jones unfurls a gay pride flag before it is raised by members of the LGBT community over the Long Beach Civic Center on Tuesday. The flag will remain flying for the two days that the Supreme Court hears marriage equality cases.
City employee David Jones unfurls a gay pride flag before it is raised by… (Los Angeles Times )

Reader views on same-sex marriage have evolved along with broader public opinion. Over the years, the mix of opinions sent to letters@latimes.com has tilted more heavily in favor of granting gay couples the right to wed. Where there's some gray between the black-and-white arguments for or against Proposition 8 -- California's 2008 ballot initiative banning gay marriage -- is in how society should go about establishing equal marriage rights. Some readers who oppose Proposition 8 have questioned whether overturning it through the courts and not the ballot box is the best course of action.

That years-long debate among our readers intensified Tuesday, with the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in the case that could overturn Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry. This week, dozens of readers have sent us their arguments for or against (and somewhere in between) same-sex marriage. Here is a selection of the letters we received Tuesday morning.

Santa Clarita resident Arthur G. Saginian charts his own course on same-sex marriage, a story reflective of the societal evolution on the topic:

FOLLOW THEIR ANALYSIS: Transcript of oral arguments

"My own personal opinion on the topic of same-sex marriage has changed dramatically over the years.

"I used to be completely against it because it threatened my concept of marriage, which threatened my concept of a family, which threatened my concept of a stable, human society, which threatened my concept of civilization as I knew it. I was raised Catholic and had visions of Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities destroyed by God because a decent person couldn't be found in either place. I thought that was because they were all gay, a childish fear of my youth that maturity has removed.

"Today I am not bothered at all by the thought of two people of the same sex getting married and having children. I have seen gay couples who are much more prepared for marriage and parenthood than so many straight couples who can't seem to get anything straight. 

"Gay people privately struggle with plenty of identity issues as it is. Let's remove at least the artificial ones (which we have imposed on them because of fear) so we can all concern ourselves with more important matters."    

FULL COVERAGE: Battle over gay marriage

Stuart L. Olster of Calabasas dismisses warnings that legalizing same-sex marriages threatens straight couples:

"I have trouble understanding how same-sex marriage threatens or diminishes my long-term traditional marriage. At oral argument before the Supreme Court, one justice asked the counsel for the pro-Proposition 8 folks that very question and, not surprisingly, he couldn't come up with an answer that made any sense. 

"If one opposes same-sex marriage (or legal abortion for that matter), one should not marry someone of the same sex (or have an abortion). But that's apparently not good enough for those who base their opposition on religious dogma. They want to impose their beliefs on those of us who don't share them. In that regard, they remind one of Islamic extremists.

"Proponents of Proposition 8 deny that same-sex marriage presents civil rights and equal protection issues. In my view, that's exactly what it does, although one spokesman for the opponents declared it a moral issue. To my way of thinking, morality has nothing to do with it, and I resent the religious folks trying to limit my freedom by imposing their religious beliefs on public policy."

PHOTOS: Supreme Court considers gay marriage

Costa Mesa resident Jim Grier wonders if overturning Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court is proper:

"A decision on the Constitution that would leave the framers of that document convulsed with laughter (read: Citizens United) is probably incorrect.

"Unless political contrivance prevails again, Proposition 8 will probably be upheld. Backers of gay marriage should then do things the right way and put it on the 2014 ballot, where it will pass by a landslide."

Robert S. Rodgers of Culver City says the fact that we're having this debate at all is reflective of society's moral course:

"I cannot believe we are seriously considering whether two people of the same sex can marry. The whole purpose of marriage is to bring children into the world.

"The first deception was to corrupt the language. The word 'gay' means happy, cheerful or enthusiastic. Substitute 'gay' for 'homosexuality' and the image changes. Homosexuality describes behavior. George Orwell warned us of this kind of deceit.

"That we are considering legalizing this behavior shows how low our morals have fallen."

Charles Jenner of Los Alamitos expresses his support for Proposition 8 succinctly:

"Marriage is only between a man and a woman. Anything else is an insult to humanity."

ALSO:

Gay rights: Banished by love

A gay marriage backlash? Not likely

For gay rights, a historic opportunity

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