With Election Day less than a week away, I have seen signs, commercials and letters addressing Question 6 on the ballot. What most concerns me about this initiative's opponents is the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage would be wrong based on the Judeo-Christian religions.

One of the greatest things about this country is the freedom of religion. We are all allowed to believe (or not believe) however we choose. That said, it is saddening to see that many people wish to restrict the basic right to marriage from one particular group of people based on one specific set of religious beliefs.

Legalizing same-sex marriage will not affect individuals regardless of their beliefs with the exception of providing the basic right to gays and lesbians to marry the people they love. Those who fear that passing Question 6 will harm their beliefs should remember that the law would allow those religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage the option to not perform those marriage ceremonies.

I know a few gay and lesbian people, and all of them are good and decent people, just trying to make their way through life as we all look to do. It is not right to deprive them of the right to marriage based on one set of religious beliefs.

I hope that on Nov. 6 enough Marylanders will be willing to vote yes on Question 6 regardless of their beliefs to allow the basic right to marriage to gays and lesbians throughout the state.

Matthew Richard