Readers Respond

December 20, 2009

Recognizing gay marriages is common sense

I am writing in response to Thursday's editorial "A matter of equal rights" (Dec. 17). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered couples and allies in Maryland are celebrating the historic passage of the marriage equality bill in Washington, D.C. This is proof that despite any recent setbacks, there is a strong momentum behind the efforts to advance equal marriage protections for all couples.

Many same-sex couples in Maryland want the right to legally marry because they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings.

Now that couples can obtain a marriage license by simply traveling to the District, Maryland must move forward in not only recognizing out-of-state marriages but also in passing the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. It is hard to imagine that couples will be entitled to equal protections in D.C., but when their car or Metro passes over the border, they will lose those crucial protections for their families. Maryland also stands to lose large sums of new tax revenue from residents who travel to Washington or the five other states with marriage-equality provisions.

History bends not only toward fairness and equality but also toward common sense. Marriage strengthens couples and families, who in turn help strengthen their communities, leading ultimately to a stronger, more robust nation. We will reach a time in this country when we value and protect all families equally.

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Silver SpringThe writer is executive director of Equality Maryland.

Language isn't problem in climate debate

I don't know if I should be mad that a literature professor accuses me and people like me of dissembling the language in the discussions concerning global warming, its causes and effects, or if I should take it as a victory that an expert in fiction is a global warming movement supporter. Glen Scott Allen made an excellent point by defining the differences between theories and hypotheses ("Not 'just a theory,'" Dec. 16).

In continuation of his intellectual argument, let me state what we who wish to rigorously verify global warming evidence want: unfettered and open access to primary-source data used to calculate global temperatures over the last 150 years used to support the theory that Earth is warming; unfettered access to the models and data used to support the hypothesis that global warming is caused by human activities; and unfettered access to the models and data used to form hypotheses of the effects of planetary changes if Earth is warming.

As an engineer, I don't "believe in" theories or even laws. I know Newton's laws are an approximation, I know vaccinations help most people, and I know that most people can't grasp the enormity of energy transfer on a planetary scale. Human knowledge is advanced by open exchanges of information, critical thinking and the give and take of investigators and skeptics. Am I really asking for too much or attempting to mislead?

Paul Spause, Hanover

Slots should be at tracks

While I believe that slots will create jobs wherever they spring up, it shouldn't be necessary to diminish thousands of jobs and the entire Maryland horse racing industry to do so. When the Anne Arundel County Council votes on slots Monday, it would make much better sense to add to the job force instead of eliminating a lot to create a few. Installing the slots at the racetracks would save the jobs of thousands who would most likely not be able to find employment elsewhere. In addition, the historic institution of horse racing would survive and thrive. Ancillary and surrounding industries would also benefit by enriching the farms, truck sales, veterinarians, feed companies, etc.

One need only to look at the state of Michigan to see the result of bad judgment and the corruption of lawmakers who heeded the promises of wealthy developers and casino lobbyists. The Michigan thoroughbred industry, once one of the best in the country, was reduced to bush-league status by the casino industry that didn't have the foresight to see how much better sense it would have made to use the racetracks as their venue and offer their patrons a live, exciting product. Slots alone will create a limited number of jobs, while enhancing horse racing with the revenue from slots will create many more opportunities. A slots parlor 10 minutes away from Laurel Park would be devastating!

Let's all hope the Anne Arundel County Council members vote no on the zoning bill to allow slots at a crowded shopping mall instead of the Laurel Park racetrack.

Michael Sassin, Holland, Pa.

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