Q: In response to the Supreme Court's recent ruling upholding the privacy rights of gay citizens, President Bush and other Republicans have suggested that federal law require marriage to be a union between one man and one woman. Do you think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry or form other civil unions?
Homosexual-Americans feel pain and joy, love and sorrow. They pay taxes, vote and contribute to the economy and the diversity of this great land founded on the principles of freedom. They are everywhere around us, mostly silent, living normal lives.
Every monument honoring our war dead has the names of gay men etched upon it. Gays and lesbians died on that awful Sept. 11. Others came to the rescue that day as firefighters and cops. Still others stood by in hospitals, and many sent money to relief organizations.
Many American families sit down at holiday dinners with homosexual relatives. Churches and synagogues are filled with gays on the Sabbath.
Yes, gay and lesbian couples ought to be able to be united in the eyes of the law. Just like their straight counterparts, they should be able to have a loving household on any American street with neighbors who can accept them.
The only queer thing about this idea is that we have taken this long to consider it.
John J. Snyder
Do I think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry or form other social unions? Absolutely not.
For millennia, marriage has been a union between men and women. That union is based on the pillars of religion and practicality.
Most if not all major religions abhor homosexuality and believe that it is unnatural. On the practical side, men and women can procreate, and our laws and customs are designed to support the offspring from those unions.
The purpose of marriage is to bring men and women together in a binding fashion to provide some assurance that the children produced in those unions will have the support that's essential to bring them to productive adulthood.
Homosexuals and their left-wing cohorts have fought religion at every turn, have worked to eliminate the family as the core unit in Western society and now want to blur the most basic of relationships.
This is ridiculous and should be neither tolerated nor accepted.
P. A. Harsanyi
Conservatives who oppose marriage for same-sex couples should be embarrassed by the inconsistencies of their argument. They criticize gay people for not forming stable, monogamous relationships, but then they deny us the protections of the very institution designed to foster such relationships.
If conservatives are really so offended by promiscuity, they should be pushing us to the altar to encourage monogamy.
Of course, many of us manage to find love, commitment and, yes, even monogamy, without the blessings of church or state. But we pay a price: As just one example, my partner, a Canadian architect who has paid taxes in this country for 12 years, still struggles just to get a green card. However, if we were to move to Canada, our relationship would be recognized. This would entitle me to Canadian residency and ultimately citizenship.
Religious groups should be free to define marriage as they see fit, but there should be no place in our secular legal code for discrimination that has roots in religious beliefs.
My partner and I don't ask for any "special rights." We'll be satisfied with the ones enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
Joel E. Gallant
Marriage is not just a union of two people for the purpose of procreation. Those who, by choice or circumstance, are childless are no less sanctified in their commitment.
Marriage is also, and always has been, a union of two families that strengthens the social fabric. The benefits of such a union cannot be denied by a secular government of all the people to any person based upon the gender of the partners.
The Meade/Bavaria family has been enriched beyond measure by the union between me and my spouse of 28 years, and no amount of hateful discrimination can alter that.
Since humans appeared on the Earth, men and women have paired in a relationship that eventually became known as marriage.
Indeed, nature intended it to be this way by providing an approximately equal number of both sexes and by requiring their union to continue the survival of the species. Some Christian faiths even believe marriage was elevated to a sacrament by God.
The human race has managed quite well all these thousands of years under the one-man, one-woman plan.
If some persons feel the need to do it a different way, let them call their relationship by another name. Let the government put its seal of approval on such unions, but we shouldn't speak for God and say that He gives His blessing.
Until God issues a revised version of the Bible, we shouldn't change His laws.
Mary F. Kollner