What makes America great? We don't legally tell others how to live their lives.

We may not agree with others' choices, religion or values. We may even think they are just wrong, but as a country we let each person have their individual rights. But, this great freedom is not free. In exchange for my rights, I have to pay a very dear price. I have to allow others these same rights. I have to allow others to say things and behave in ways that I may not condone. I have to appreciate the freedom of speech, actions and opinions of others, not just mine.

There is a vote coming up for Question 6, the Civil Marriage Protection Act. This is not a vote about if you think gay marriage is right for you. This is not a vote if you think gay marriage is right at all. This is not a vote about what your religion thinks about it. This vote is to let others have rights that you have, and that you would fight vigorously to defend and define for yourself.

Religions help set our values, but thankfully, I do not have to legally adhere to your religion. I am not going to jail for not keeping kosher or for having a beer. Religions are free to have expectations for their members, but that does not make them my legal obligations. Nor do you want my expectations or values thrust upon you.

The civil marriage law does not mean that your church (or even you) has to recognize it. But realize that some religious denominations do recognize gay marriage. Several mainstream Christian denominations recognize and conduct gay marriages. This is not a "Christian thing." Remember, it was not that long ago that interracial marriage was illegal and was opposed on biblical grounds too. I think we are past that kind of thinking now.

I can comprehend that some people will just not be able to vote for gay marriage, but you have another choice besides voting against it -- you can choose to not oppose the freedoms of others -- you can choose to not vote at all on Question 6. Just skip it.

You are free to be personally opposed to gay marriage. You do not have to endorse it, but if you believe in your freedoms, then you have to agree to let others have their freedoms.

Randy Linville

Marriottsville

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