I would like to respond to the articles in The Sun regarding the gay marriage debate. The debate often centers around religious beliefs.

I have religious beliefs that say we are to love God and our fellow man as ourselves. That seems to be universally accepted. However, The Bible also states in Corinthians 14:34, that "women shall not speak in church." I do not believe that it is God's will that women not teach and speak in His church. Many verses in the Bible must be looked at with an understanding that some verses have been translated through the centuries in an incorrect way. For those who want to deny gay people the right to marry based on religious beliefs that come from Bible verses, they should reconsider based on the above mentioned verse that is one example of verses in question. Also, heterosexual marriage is not based on the notion that married couples must have children, so this argument is false.

Gay people need equal rights in terms of whom they love and to have that love sanctioned by marriage, which brings about the protections, support, respect, and "pursuit of happiness" that is granted in the Constitution. Gay marriage would bring financial gains to our state by allowing gay people to marry in Maryland instead of going to other states.

The current bill being presented by Gov.Martin O'Malleyhas legal protections in place for religious beliefs and for religious organizations and churches. African-Americans should support gay marriage and remember that the Bible was used to condone slavery and other forms of discrimination. I believe that people are born gay. Who would choose to live a life of ridicule and hiding? No one would want to have to hide an important part of their life such as this.

True Christians must stand up as they did in the 1960s to stop discrimination against African-Americans. It is time to stop oppressing people who have nothing to do with heterosexual marriage. How about trying to strengthen those marriages and encourage heterosexuals to better care for and parent their children? Laws, like in the 1960s that gave rights to African-Americans, must be passed to protect and give equal rights to gay people. If we wait for the masses, we will wait forever.

Sherry Hope, Baltimore