Do you believe the state should recognize gay marriages or endorse some other form of civil union for same-sex couples?

SATURDAY MAILBOX

Has time come to extend right to marry to gays?

Question of the Month

September 24, 2005

I believe the state should recognize civil marriage for gay families.

Civil marriage provides more than 1,000 protections and benefits to families.

These protections and benefits are generally not required during the best times of our lives. However, they are critical when the chips are down, especially during employment setbacks, legal difficulties, retirement or the sickness or death of a loved one.

Gay families do not request special privileges, only the same privileges heterosexual families enjoy.

We wish to inherit the homes and savings we build together without paying a tax on the portion attributed (by the IRS) to the deceased member of the family.

We wish to provide the best for our children, just like our neighbors. We do not wish to be strangers in the eyes of the law in our most vulnerable hour.

Without the protections civil marriage affords, hospitals may deny me the comfort of my family, the state may burden my family with taxes upon my death and our son must live with the threat that his family could face avoidable devastation should something happen to one of his parents.

Civil marriage will not guarantee that our family won't face the usual difficulties of life. It will simply prevent the state from making these times worse.

Elizabeth Skalnek

Elkridge

Maryland should not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions.

Societies of all kinds have honored the male-female marriage for thousands of years. But only contemporary society has considered allowing the marriage of a man to another man.

The last 30 years have seen significant deterioration of the nuclear family.

At the same time, there has been a significant rise in sexual abuse, sexually transmitted disease, abortion, drug use and the like.

Coincidence? I think not.

Television, advertisements and many school curricula glamorize homosexuality and portray it as totally normal, confusing the real issues surrounding this lifestyle.

However, the traditional family was ordained by God Himself.

In Genesis 2:24, He says: "For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall be one flesh."

Two members of the same sex cannot become one flesh.

To legalize same-sex marriage is to consciously move down a slippery slope further away from the nuclear family, which will significantly impact our children and society for generations to come.

The implications are too great to redefine an institution that predates America.

Betty Papson

Jacksonville

Gay and lesbian families need all the same protections as heterosexual families.

When we are sick, we need our husbands and wives at our bedside in the hospital; when a life-long partner dies, the assets we have created together should not be taxed, putting an extra burden on the family; and when our kids are at school, they deserve to know that their family is every bit as healthy as those of their peers.

The governmental rights and benefits associated with marriage should not be granted only to heterosexual couples.

Kevin Jordan

Columbia

I have been in a committed gay relationship for 28 years with the same wonderful man, a physician.

We have built a home together, paid taxes, attended worship services in our community and raised two darling children from birth.

Except for the gender of one of us (take your pick), we function the same way that all the other (intact) families in our kids' Little League teams do.

Although we don't need the state to condone our relationship, our children would be more secure if their parents' marriage was legally defined.

In the 21st century, haven't we evolved sufficiently to recognize that love is a God-given gift to all His creations?

Kenneth B. Morgen

Towson

Opposition to gay marriage is an attack on gay and lesbian Marylanders that singles them out to be denied a basic civil right.

Although homophobia is the unspoken motivation, the attack is often justified with lofty rhetoric about defending "traditional" marriage.

However, the state of heterosexual marriage, marred as it is by unprecedented levels of divorce and infidelity, would be much improved if committed gay and lesbian couples were included.

An undue emphasis on gender simply misses the point.

Marriage isn't strengthened by the sexual orientation of two partners; it is strengthened by the love between individuals.

Society does marriage a disservice when it denies the institution to thousands of Maryland couples who seek to live up to its ideals.

Alex Csicsek

Baltimore

I am a gay man. But more important, I am an American citizen. As such, I should be entitled to all the same rights every other citizen enjoys.

I am in a 4 1/2 -year committed relationship. My partner and I own a house together and are proud parents to a puppy.

We are good neighbors. We pay taxes.

Except that we are both men, we are like any other couple on the street.

Many opponents of gay marriage will not admit it, but I think the "yuck factor" is a major reason for their intolerance.

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