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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 8, 2009 at 8:44 PM

California’s Proposition 8

Questioning whether religion should play a role in government at all

The March 5 Times featured a segment about California’s Proposition 8 that currently bans gay marriage in the state [“Is Prop. 8 a constitutional wrong?” Times, Nation & World].

The article outlines the opposition to the bill, attempting to overturn it in the California Supreme Court. It also outlines two cases in an attempt to determine whether this is a state or federal issue.

I think it boils down to a more fundamental issue.

I think what should be examined is whether or not it is the government’s right to regulate marriage at all. Many who oppose gay marriage do so for religious reasons, but was America not founded on the principles that religion should not become entangled with government?

Rather than examining which branch of government should be controlling marriage, I think more focus should be put toward whether there should be any regulation at all. In my mind, it is a violation of the basic principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution to deny any group the right to marry, especially if it is for religious reasons.

— Mackay Cadell, Seattle

States should not have power to take away an inalienable right

I believe Shannon Minter, a lead attorney in the California Supreme Court case to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in the state, was correct in saying, “This is now about whether a majority can take away an inalienable right from one group of Californians” [“Attorneys in Prop. 8 court test a study of opposites,” page one, March 5].

I also believe the promise of equality, which this country claims to offer, should include equal marriage rights — whether the marriage is between a man and a woman or two people of the same gender.

The promise of equal rights is protected by our Constitution. To suggest marriage should be limited to a man and a woman seems, to me, to be a violation of these rights.

Given the U.S. Constitution was written for, and is applicable to, our entire nation, a state constitution should not be able to overstep boundaries that contradict what our national Constitution says.

I do agree the state constitution has power, but approving a proposition that excludes a minority group from marriage rights others are welcome to is not in its realm of power.

Proposition 8 prohibits the right to equality — an “inalienable right” — for a minority group. Who is the state, or anyone, to take that right away from them?

— Amanda Gadian, Seattle

An intentionally unspecific constitution warrants change

Proposition 8: a constitutional wrong?

After reading today’s article regarding the constitutionality of California’s Prop. 8, I found myself confused. Gay rights are, of course, a heavily debated issue in America. I do not believe, however, that it should be an issue of constitutionality.

Though it does not explicitly allow same-sex marriage, the Constitution does include the Equal Protection Clause, which states all men are created equal and, therefore, deserve equal treatment.

The Constitution is intentionally unspecific, and it wasn’t created that way by accident. It was written in a way that, should the future prove it necessary, it can be changed.

As a supporter of gay rights, I believe no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. After all, this is America: a country that came into existence as the result of people standing up against unfair treatment.

Therefore, I believe this article is irrelevant. This is a moral issue, not a matter of constitutionality.

— Mary Campbell, Seattle

Same rhetoric our forefathers tried to escape

I listened to a local-radio show that discusses highly charged issues. One of the subjects of discussion was the legality of gay marriage, and whether this issue should be left to the public vote or legislative and judicial branches of government to make the decision.

I’m not gay and prior to this radio show didn’t have much of an opinion on this issue. While listening to this radio show, however, there were many callers saying gay and lesbian people are wrong and going against the Word of God. This was their justification for why these people should not have the right to marry.

I could not comprehend why anyone would want to restrict someone else’s right to marry whoever they want. If it is not directly affecting them, why do people care?

U.S. citizens like to believe we are a free nation and the standard other countries should model themselves after. If this is the case, we should value and protect everyone’s basic freedoms and liberties, so long as they do not harm others.

Restricting the marriage rights of gay and lesbian people is oppression.

As long as we continue to oppress the rights of any group of people in our country, we cannot consider ourselves a free country. As a close friend reminded me, “Freedom, like life, is an absolute. People are free or they are not. Such as people are alive or they are not. There is no such thing as partial freedom!”

This country was founded by people seeking a land where they would have freedom of religion. I find it ironic that this same group of people are now trying to oppress other people’s rights and liberties based on these same religious beliefs.

The argument has been made that gay marriage is not covered by civil rights because people are not born gay or lesbian. They claim people choose to be gay or lesbian, so they should not enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.

If this is the case, someone could make the case that people are not born into religion. When I listen to the arguments of religious zealots trying restrict others’ liberties and freedoms, it reminds me of the rhetoric our forefathers were trying to get away from when they came here in first place.

“Believe as we do and conform or lose your right to be happy,” they said. “Believe as we do and conform or die.”

When it comes down to it, there isn’t much difference.

— Sergio Martinez, Federal Way

Comments | More in Gay marriage, Gay rights

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