Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 24, 2006

Gay marriage poses no public hazard

In his column "Gay marriage advocates ignore history, reality" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 17), Thomas Sowell compares the state's denial of equal access to civil marriage to a bicyclist being denied access to the highway.

And he suggests that, as a gay man, I "get off my bicycle" if I want to travel in the fast lane. With all due respect, I find this analogy bogus.

The state has a legitimate right to bar bicyclists from the freeway. Public safety demands this restriction to protect both cyclists and motorists.

No such public-safety concerns justify barring me from the protections granted by access to civil marriage.

The commonweal is neither harmed nor diminished by allowing committed same-sex couples the sanction and protection of the state.

A better analogy, still retaining the automotive theme used by Mr. Sowell, would posit a prohibition of purple Pontiacs from the public thoroughfares, based on some majority-approved aesthetic standard.

But the whim of the state, albeit a whim buttressed by custom and in accord with the comfort of the majority, and draped in convoluted logic (that presumes a procreative function of marriage, except when it doesn't), cannot justify denial of free and equal access to all civil rights, including the right to marry the person of one's choice.

Besides, I don't plan to get off this particular bicycle, merely to accede to Mr. Sowell's demands or those of a tyrannical majority.

Hugh Silcox

Baltimore

Same-sex couples only seek equality

Gay marriage "imposes legal restrictions, taking away rights that individuals might otherwise have," Thomas Sowell argues in his column "Gay-marriage advocates ignore history, reality" (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 17).

Mr. Sowell is apparently forgetting the many important privileges granted to heterosexual couples which cannot be duplicated by other legal arrangements, such as the right to inherit a spouse's pension or to file joint tax returns and the ability to take leave to care for a sick spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act or to inherit a spouse's Social Security or disability benefits.

In many states gay couples are denied the right to make medical decisions for a sick spouse, to community property ownership protections and the eligibility of one spouse to be on another spouse's health care policy and even domestic violence protections.

Gay couples are not asking for special privileges.

We are asking for the same marital privileges our heterosexual counterparts enjoy.

Casey Anno

Havre de Grace

Out-of-state funding may harm Maryland

Should Maryland politicians be allowed to solicit campaign funds out-of- state? In my opinion, this sort of fund-raising is at least unprincipled if not unethical ("O'Malley relies more on out-of-state giving," Aug. 17).

If a politician accepts money from an individual or interest group in another state, it seems to me that a lobbyist for that interestwould expect a financial return for the contribution.

So California's gain, for example, could be Maryland's loss.

I suggest we limit the political fund-raising of Maryland candidates to Maryland.

William G. Huppert

Perry Hall

Three years of war haven't made us safe

Over and over again, President Bush declares that we are safer than we were a few years ago ("Bush frames touchy topics as winners for Republicans," Aug. 22).

But we're not - after more than three years and more than 2,500 dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the country is now in a civil war and has lots of newly-minted terrorists.

A recent poll showed that 35 percent of Americans are very concerned that a Democratic takeover of Congress would weaken the fight against terrorism. But how can that fight be any weaker than it has been under this administration?

The only thing I have to fear is not fear itself - it's a future with a Republican Congress in charge.

Janet Krejci

Baltimore

Planes for Pakistan will boost security

In the present security situation, for Pakistan to renounce its nuclear program, without reciprocation by India, would jeopardize the prevailing peace and security in South Asia ("Anti-terror ally or not, Pakistan doesn't deserve our F-16s," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 16).

The maintenance of a "minimum credible nuclear deterrent" is the cornerstone of Pakistan's defense policy and has proved to be the best guarantee for peace in the region.

Pakistan had been consistent in advocating the resolution of the nuclear issue in the regional context and had reiterated time and again that South Asia should be declared as Nuclear Arms Free Zone.

India has not responded to this proposal and has continued with its nuclear program.

Pakistan has set up a command and control authority which has made foolproof security arrangements to safeguard its nuclear assets.

Pakistan has also promulgated a stringent law that prohibits the export of nuclear material and the related technology.

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