LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Our basic rights do not depend on state politics

So Gregory Kane thinks our "right to privacy" does not exist in the Constitution ("Justices' rulings overlook importance of states' rights," July 6). It is incredible that anyone would argue that this fundamental right is not protected by our Constitution.

The Constitution was not written to list explicitly every single right that we have (see the Ninth Amendment, which says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people").

Instead of quibbling with the court's decision to strike down sodomy laws, most of which affect heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, Mr. Kane needs to explain where big government gets the authority to enter our bedrooms.

And I think Mr. Kane's trust in state legislatures to "do their jobs" and strike down such laws is incredibly naive in view of the use of "state's rights" in the past by segregationists and bigots.

My fundamental rights do not rest on any political majority in a state legislature. And no majority, no matter how large, can take my inalienable rights from me.

Byron Stover

Baltimore

Anti-gay rhetoric needs explanation

Thank you so much for Mike Lane's July 7 editorial cartoon on "the Homosexual Agenda," which depicts a male couple having a regular workday just like millions of other couples around the world.

The recent Supreme Court decision repealing sodomy laws has opened up a discussion I think is long overdue. We need to ask the right-wing conservatives to begin defining the terms they so often use to demean gays and lesbians.

For example, just what do they mean by the "homosexual lifestyle"? How is it different from the "heterosexual lifestyle"? And we need them to explain exactly how legalizing same-sex marriage would destroy the traditional family.

Let's have some answers, rather than this empty and inflammatory rhetoric.

Rob Lance

Columbia

Frist is right to stand for Christian values

In response to the question, "Does that mean he [Sen. Bill Frist] endorses 'living in sin'?" ("How does Frist want gay couples to live?" letters, July 7), I would note that God's holy word, the Bible, which is wholly inerrant, is very clear on the practice of homosexuality or sodomy. The act is detestable in the eyes of the Lord.

Please read Leviticus 18:22 in the Old Testament and in the New Testament read Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. In these verses you will clearly see that homosexuality is already a sin in God's eyes, and man's law and liberalism cannot and will not negate God's law. Therefore, anyone who is practicing homosexuality is already living in sin.

Praise God for people such as Mr. Frist who stand up for what is morally and naturally right.

The Rev. John E. Taylor

Pasadena

Lax justice system is continuing tragedy

The gruesome article detailing the conviction and sentencing of Benjamin Sifrit to only 38 years in prison doesn't end last year's tragedy ("Judge calls Sifrit 'butcher,' gives him 38 years in prison," July 8).

The real ongoing tragedy is Maryland's system of injustice. The fact that the Sifrits will not be executed for their murderous deeds makes me wonder why anyone would want to live in Maryland.

I truly hope that Maryland will get its act together and restore justice to its proper position. In the meantime, my bigger hope is that the kind of people who have contributed to the demise of Maryland will not move here to Virginia, where some semblance of justice still remains.

Alexander G. Yancey

Richmond, Va.

The writer was a co-worker of Martha Crutchley, who was murdered by the Sifrits in May 2002.

Global economy still oppresses the poor

Demonstrating the kind of bold acumen that has become his trademark, President Bush on Tuesday declared himself against slavery, some 140 years after it was proclaimed illegal in the United States, the last Western nation to employ that barbaric institution ("Bush decries 'sin' of slavery," July 9).

Regrettably, Mr. Bush did not denounce the global economic system, which the United States leads in its maintenance of widespread poverty, disease, corruption and indebtedness for billions of the world's poorest men, women and children.

I hope it won't take another 140 years for a U.S. president to renounce the short-sighted, inhumane and destructive policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

Dave Goldsmith

Woodstock

The writer is Baltimore County Green Party coordinator.

Preferences address the legacy of slavery

It may be true, as the writer of the letter "Affirmative action advances one group" (July 5) suggests, that "under affirmative action, all men are not created equal and do not have equal opportunity. The Constitution is supposed to protect us from such discrimination."

But to see the whole picture it should be added that "under slavery and even after the Civil War, all men and women were not created equal and did not have equal opportunity."

That's where the discussion about affirmative action should begin.

Al Buls

Baltimore

Will MTA fare hikes mean better service?

Well, it's official now. The Maryland Transit Administration's fares have gone up. I bought my July pass the other day for $64 - a price increase of $10 per month.

With all this extra money coming in, maybe we will see some improvements. Maybe the ice will be removed from the Metro subway system's parking lots. Maybe the glass will be swept up in the lots so our tires won't go flat.

Maybe the subway cars will actually see some Windex and a mop from time to time. Maybe the bus that's supposed to take me to the Milford Mill Metro Station won't drop me off at Milford Mill Road and Church Lane the day after a record snowstorm next year like it did this year.

Maybe more of the ticket window cashiers and guards will actually be courteous.

And maybe pigs will fly, too.

Michael Rodo

Reisterstown

Separated twins finally find freedom

As I sat in my car reading The Sun and eating my morning bagel and coffee, the editorial "Two lives" (July 9) brought forth an out-loud "Hallelujah" as well as tears.

This editorial represents the epitome of good journalism because it presented life in all of its depth as well as height and breadth.

Ladan and Laleh Bijani were women of faith. When I heard of their deaths - on separate tables in the operating room - the tears flowed, but ringing through my brain were the words: "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last."

May they now enjoy the height and depth and breadth of their new life.

Myra Welsh

Cockeysville

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