You write that same-sex couples "ought to be extended the same basic human rights that heterosexual couples enjoy, not only to encourage loving, committed and financially stable relationships that are the backbone of any community but particularly for the sake of their children" ("The rise of same sex couples," Aug. 12) And Gov. Martin O'Malley wrote in support of the redefinition of marriage, saying, "when shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice."

But isn't it unjust to children to take away their right to a mother and father? Consider the competing definitions of marriage:

1) Marriage is the bond between a man and a woman and the children that may result for the good of children and society, or

2) Marriage is a private relationship for the benefit of adults.

Allowing same-sex "marriage" redefines marriage from the first definition to the second. Same sex marriage grants a license to adults to deny children their fundamental right to know and be cared for by a mother and father.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 7, states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. Same-sex marriage drastically erodes this basic right and the protection that authentic marriage affords to children. Surely there are better ways to help broken families and those with same-sex attraction trying to raise children than redefining marriage and further eroding children's rights and family structure.

Greg Thompson, Yuba City, Calif.