Those who quote the Bible to oppose same-sex marriage ought to reconsider. God actually said very little on what a marriage is, and we see many examples of it in the Bible.

Which marriage did we want to preserve — the one where the guy first marries a woman, then her sister, then both of their servants? Or the one with 700 concubines? Or are we preserving modern marriage, which are lifelong commitments that can last 72 hours (or less!) and end in divorce half the time? Good luck with that one.

Besides, God's law is not America's law, as we are not a nation founded for just one religion. My God says gay marriage is fine by him, and I say banning gay marriage would be an infringement on my beliefs. Since arguing our respective religions would come back to an issue of beliefs, you probably believe I'm wrong. But I believe you're wrong, and it would probably be more prudent to argue the point based on real, provable facts.

Opponents who argue that some Americans don't deserve tax-related benefits should read from another document, the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment offers equal protection under the law, and tax code is part of law. As for claims the nation can't afford it, that argument is more reason to eliminate those tax benefits for everyone, not banning them for gay and lesbian individuals. This is not, incidentally, just about the tax benefits. It's about love, commitment, and the other rights that come with marriage as well.

Prefer to put it all up for a vote? A certain Republican I know told me that "the masses are asses," and frankly, I don't trust civil rights issues in the hands of a load of braying donkeys. We wouldn't have put the Civil Rights Act in the hands of voters back in 1964, as I'm all but certain it would have failed. As for "liberal" judges overturning Iowa's decision, they were following the law as written in their state's constitution and that's how they interpreted it. If people were willing to look at it from a neutral standpoint, like judges are supposed to, they would probably agree.

As for civil unions, didn't we, as a country, already decide that "separate but equal" was not, in fact, equal? Civil unions do not allow for the same rights as marriage, and if you were to give civil unions the same rights as marriage, why not just call it marriage? Gay, lesbian and transgender individuals are as sentimental as everyone else is about the word, "marriage," and I don't fault them for it.

I'm certain that if the day comes when I face my God, he will offer me a high-five. If your God has a problem with that, He can take it up with Him. As for changing a sacred institution, it's not only a religious issue, it's a social issue. The American Anthropological Association said in 2005, "a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies." Seeing as they're modern experts, I'll take their word over that of any 2000-year-old book.

R. Smith, Reisterstown