May 2, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Leave behind those who are unsupportive and move on
I live in Victoria now but I lived for years in Seattle. I legally married my same-sex sweetheart of 34 years 10 years ago in Vancouver, B. C.
I have this thought about florists, churches, businesses, etc., that say they support the person but not the lifestyle: Thank you! Now I know where I will not be spending my gay dollars [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
The issue with flowers or wedding cakes or whatever should not become an angry wedge to self-respecting gay people. We should take our money and our respect and go where we are wanted. Our wedding was one of the sweetest moments of our lives together. I would never want to spoil this beautiful moment by trying to patronize anyone who thought their way of life, their love for each other, or their religious beliefs were superior to ours. Nor would I waste our precious time fighting religious or social bigots.
Leave that church and shake the dust from your boots. To the gay couple, I say, go on and enjoy your wedding with those who want to support you. To the florist, I say, have a good life, without me.
Stephen Robards, Victoria, B.C.
April 30, 2013 at 7:37 AM
Legislation goes against majority opinion
Senate Bill 5927 is a blatant attempt by Republicans to circumvent the will of a majority of Washington state voters and pander to their right-wing base in an attempt to garner more extremist voters for the upcoming midterm elections [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
Having said that, Republicans have a damning track record of ramming through deleterious legislation with little concern for those they hurt in the process.
The proposed bill is asinine and insulting in the extreme and if passed will inflict untold damage on the reputation of the Washington and its people. It would be state-sanctioned discrimination, plain and simple.
I suspect SB 5927 will die this time around due to other pressing concerns, but Republican audacity knows no bounds. It will likely be resurrected next year. Should that happen, I trust more sane and compassionate legislators will do everything in their power to kill this affront to common decency before it sees any more daylight.
The undeniable trend is toward equality. There’s no turning back now.
Ronald Van de Kruvf, Everett
Bible makes no mention of same-sex marriage
It is impossible to quote “Jesus’ teachings” on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is apparently what the florist in Richland believes she is doing [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
I am a Christian who takes his faith very seriously, but anyone familiar with the biblical text can tell you that Jesus never addresses homosexuality at all, and the Bible itself never addresses same-sex marriage. One can find promulgations about homosexuality in the Law of Moses and the writings of the Apostle Paul, but not Jesus. I wish someone would mention this to other Christians, especially my fellow believer in Richland.
Corbin Lambeth, Seattle
April 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Marriage shouldn’t change eligibility to buy flowers
Barronelle Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers to longtime gay customers for their wedding on the basis of her “relationship with Jesus” is somewhere between laughable and shocking [“How plan for a simple wedding is shaking up lives and the state,” NWFriday, April 19].Apparently, neither she nor Jesus minded when the gay couple bought flowers for a wide variety of occasions, including Valentine’s Day. Given the romantic nature of the day, the gay couple could well have been indulging in activities which Stutzman, based on her “relationship with Jesus,” might have disapproved of.
Yet, she was apparently happy to take their money. So, the question is, why would she think Jesus would approve of her taking money from a gay couple for a celebration in which they would engage in the same activities they would if they were married, but not approve of her taking their money in order to legitimize those same activities in a marital relationship?
One only hopes that it’s Stutzman who is the hypocrite, not Jesus, who, from everything I have read, seems to have been more liberal, compassionate and open-minded than Stutzman. Maybe the next time she talks to him, she can run this by him.
Laura Livingston, Bellingham
April 19, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Florist should not be required to apologize
The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) requirement that Barronelle Stutzman apologize or face a lawsuit for her refusal to sell flowers to a gay couple is precisely the wrong approach [“Case against florist fires up gay-marriage critics,” page one, April 18].
This dispute does not have to be about blame. It should be an opportunity for Washingtonians to wrestle with fundamental questions and hopefully arrive at the right result.
Two Constitutional rights are in conflict: The 14th Amendment right of a protected class to receive equal protection under the law — as reflected in Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination in trade or commerce against a protected class — and the First Amendment right of an individual to freely exercise his or her religious beliefs.
Personally, I think Stutzman should sell flowers to all, irrespective of orientation. But she certainly need not apologize for her beliefs.
We all face the challenge of exercising our beliefs while accounting for their impact on others. But the ACLU’s approach of extorting an apology leads to the unnecessary polarization that The Seattle Times’ article well describes.
David Voyles, Seattle
Equal treatment means equal treatment
Joseph Backholm said that, because of her religious convictions, the florist “didn’t want to be involved in a same-sex marriage” and “People don’t want to pass some philosophical litmus test to participate in this society.” [“Case against florist fires up gay-marriage critics,” page one, April 18].
That logic allows gay people (like countless other minorities before them) to be served only if they pass the florist’s personal philosophical, religious or, I don’t know, icky-factor test. Equal treatment under the law means just that, not equal treatment only if a person likes the law.
Ron Anderson, Seattle
April 18, 2013 at 5:20 PM
The United States is running behind
New Zealand became the 13th nation today to approve marriage equality ["New Zealand lawmakers make gay marriage legal," page one, April 18]. Where is the United States with our “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” mantra? Not leading, that’s for sure.Currently 20 percent of states have passed marriage-quality laws and some of them by popular vote. Still, it seems the people screaming loudest about the government staying out of people’s lives are the ones behind the effort to ensure that government enshrines discrimination in Constitutional amendments if necessary.
Where is the leadership from companies like Boeing which remained silent during the vast corporate outpouring of support for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act?
To this day, even though the majority of its workforce resides in a state where gay marriage is legal, Boeing chooses to use a loophole in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to exclude its legally married gay and lesbian employees and their families from equal benefits?
Someday we may be as enlightened as New Zealand, which actually broke out into song in their Parliament after voting to approve marriage equality. Until then, they can have the pedestal we put ourselves on. We certainly don’t deserve to stand on it.
Randy Sampson, Seattle
April 17, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Florist had the right to refuse service
Compelling a florist to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not a principled stance [“State sues Richland florist over gay wedding,” NWWednesday, April 10].Let’s turn this around and imagine a gay caterer who is asked to provide food at a minister’s conference about preaching against homosexuality. Should he be compelled to do this? Of course not.
Maids, midwives, florists, caterers, piano tuners and massage therapists are not required to provide their services in a private setting where they do not feel comfortable. They may or may not be in the right morally, but they are not breaking the law.
Lara Updike, Bothell
Will case be taken to the Supreme Court?
As a business open to the public, state law prohibiting discrimination in places of public accommodation requires the florist to provide services without regard to sexual orientation [“State sues Richland florist over gay wedding,” NWWednesday, April 10]. The attorney general has both the authority and responsibility to uphold this law.
The florist’s attorney has argued that creative expression is protected by the First Amendment under the free-speech umbrella and that the state cannot compel a painter to paint, a singer to sing, or a floral designer to arrange flowers, because the U.S. Constitution trumps state law. I find that to be a compelling argument and one that could ultimately land this case before the U.S. Supreme Court. This is one to watch.
Rob Sargent, Newcastle
April 2, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Support LGBT marriage
There are many arguments for and even against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender marriages in the United States. [“Why did court take Prop 8? Only justices know,” page one, March 30.]
I am very aware of the arguments most people make against it: that is religiously and morally abhorrent and that is a federally mandated suppression of the states’ right to decide on mundane cases.
I do not think that way. When the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled in 1954 that states would no longer segregate schools, many people thought of the legal decision as an intrusion against states’ rights. However, the decision was deemed necessary in order to help end segregationist laws in this country and pave the way for the civil-rights movement.
Now, with United States vs. Windsor and Hollingsworth vs. Perry becoming the center of interest, Congress must move to repeal the divisive Defense of Marriage Act. The long-deserved right of federal recognition to same-sex and transgender individuals must be a reality.
Now is the time to support civil rights by repealing DOMA now.
– Erick Dietrich, Walla Walla
Support traditional meaning of marriage
True marriage — that between one man and one woman — is the pre-eminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions.
It is a relationship defined by nature and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage.
Marriage was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose that include the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.
Sadly, marriage has been reduced to another commodity in our culture.
In an age when children can be manufactured and grown in the body of a surrogate when they want — while millions are being aborted at will because they are not wanted — “civil rights” are being manufactured by the agencies of the civil government. They are multiplying while real rights — fundamental human rights, which have been endowed upon us by God — are being taken away, one after another.
When sexual behavior between two men or two women is viewed as providing a foundation for a new civil right to marry, the real common good of society is placed at risk. When those who oppose this mistake are routinely characterized as bigots, overt persecution of the church is close at hand.
Let’s pray that our justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will do the right thing for all Americans and uphold the traditional meaning of marriage.
– Sam Wright, Seattle
April 1, 2013 at 6:04 AM
Civil-rights issues should be resolved on federal level
Bruce Ramsey is wrong [“Supreme Court should let each state decide same-sex marriage,” Opinion, March 27]. Marriage equality is very much a civil-rights issue, and one that needs to be resolved at the federal level.
And it is perfectly reasonable to compare its history with that of slavery or voting rights. Limiting one’s rights due to their sexuality, race, gender or anything that can be attributed to a genetic lotto — each reason is equally wrong.
And to deny marriage rights to gay and lesbians who happen to live in slower-evolving states is not acceptable. We will get this done, nationwide, and every state will be forced to accept the new reality. Bigots will be sued, rightfully, and will learn to hide in the very shadows that the LGBT community has occupied all these cold, dark years.
–Andrew Cleary, Seattle
March 30, 2013 at 6:31 AM
Marriage more sacred when not founded on discrimination
Would you buy gas at a gas station with a sign saying “No Gays Allowed!”
Well, if you had no choice, you would. But if you had the choice between two gas stations, one with the sign and one without, you’d go to the one that doesn’t discriminate. You know you would; you might not be comfortable around gays but you’re not a jerk.
So why is marriage different [“Same-sex marriage cases go to high court,” page one, March 24]?
Why would you want to be part of an institution that says, “No Gays Allowed!”
In the past, my (straight) marriage had to be based on inequality. Our great institution was tainted with that sign. But now we have the choice. Aren’t our (straight) marriages more sacred because they are no longer founded on discrimination?
–Randy Winn, Seattle
March 29, 2013 at 7:05 AM
Spousal rights would not be recognized out of state
Bruce Ramsey advocates that each state should decide whether a gay couple is married or not [“Supreme Court should let each state decide same-sex marriage,” Opinion, March 27]. Thus, a legally married couple from Massachusetts visits Hartford, Conn., where one is hospitalized, and the spouse cannot visit or be involved [in medical decisions]. Very critical spousal rights are taken away.
Inheritance, taxes, health care, visitation rights, etc., are seriously affected by the marital status of a couple. Clearly, this issue should not be left to a hodgepodge of local decisions by state legislators anymore than states should decide their own international borders.
–Charles S. Hoff, Redmond
Marriage equality is urgent
As a 61 year-old kid, I am surprised by the euphoria I feel about the upcoming wedding to my partner of 14 years. As our service begins, we will have a moment of silence to remember our parents who did not live long enough to see their daughters get married.
So please, do not suggest there is no urgency to grant marriage equality to all citizens of all 50 States.
–Gayle Brenchley, Mount Vernon
We shouldn’t just let it ‘play out’
While Bruce Ramsey is content to let same-sex marriage “play out,” 37,000 kids in California can’t have their parents get married.
Hundreds of thousands of American citizens across the country aren’t free to marry the person they love, because we should “let it play out.”
In 1967, should the Supreme Court have let interracial marriage “play out?” Where would our society be if they had decided that “expanding marriage [was] up to the states?” Alabama only removed its interracial ban in 2000. Is that really the right way to handle the fundamental rights of human beings?
Who are we to decide whom gets to marry whom? Since when did it become a legitimate right of the states to say who could have fundamental rights and who couldn’t? Are we to abandon same-sex couples in states such as Mississippi, where a same-sex ballot initiative isn’t projected to pass for decades?
These are the questions I have for Mr. Ramsey, who, as far as I know, didn’t have to ask voters for approval of his marriage. I wish he would consider that before declaring that fate for couples with love as real as his.
–Ben Lennon, Seattle
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