My conscience dictates whom I marry and if and when. I do not force these beliefs on anyone else. I don't want anyone to deny me the equal rights that all others enjoy.

I married my man in 2008 and did not need a church, synagogue, or temple. Why? I was married in City Hall in Greenwich, Conn. It was a very solemn ceremony with family and friends. My marriage has not changed a marriage of anyone else. We hear the various religions spouting that society is coming to an end if same-sex marriages are performed in America. But as the years go by, the old refrain reminds us Chicken Little's cry of "the Sky is falling, the Sky is falling" and seems more and more foolish.

It was once declared the earth was flat and the center of Creation and if you didn't believe it, you would be excommunicated. The infallibility claims of any religion are the choice of any individual but cannot be foisted on the rest of society.

To deny anyone the right to marry diminishes human dignity of every single person. Equal protection and religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. Let all people exercise their own conscience and marry or not whom they please. Leave the spite and malevolence behind us and treat each other as the Buddha and Jesus wanted — with unconditional love and the end of suffering for all people.

John Tyler, Trenton, N.J.