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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Court deals a blow to marital equality

Along with other parents of gay and lesbian children, I am stunned at the Maryland Court of Appeals' ruling against a right to gay marriage ("Court upholds marriage law," Sept. 19).

As the parent of four grown children, I am really upset that this ruling will allow one of my daughters to be discriminated against because she is gay.

My husband and I are an interracial couple, a couple who once could not legally marry in Maryland. But fortunately, the courts ruled in our favor when they struck down laws forbidding interracial marriages.

I cannot imagine having our right to marry argued in the state legislature and then sent to the public for a vote.

The court said gays are not "politically powerless." Then why don't my gay daughter and her partner enjoy the same rights heterosexual couples do?

As a mother, I would like to see my daughter marry in a civil marriage ceremony - not a civil union, which would carry limited protections.

I look forward to seeing Maryland become the progressive, fair state I know it can be by ensuring equality for all citizens.

Colette Roberts

Columbia

The writer is chairwoman of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Columbia-Howard County.

Court fails its duty to protect minority

The majority opinion from the Maryland Court of Appeals argued that gay and lesbian people are not politically powerless enough or discriminated against enough to require a ruling that would protect them ("Divided judges refuse right to same-sex unions," Sept. 19).

So how politically powerless and discriminated against does a group have to be to deserve the court's protection?

Unfortunately, unlike women and racial minorities, homosexuals will always find themselves a small minority in most places. That biological reality will never change.

And although there may be many successful and influential gay people in the world, the discrimination against homosexuals as a group is very real and very hurtful.

Yet, with the court's decision that gays and lesbians must rely on the legislature to establish their marital rights, the fate of their equality is put in the hands of the vast majority of heterosexual people.

Homosexuals are faced now with asking heterosexuals to give them equality - instead of demanding it from the courts. The court's decision is unacceptable.

If the court cannot protect the gay and lesbian minority from the tyranny of the heterosexual majority, who will?

The Rev. Tom Harris

Baltimore

The writer is the pastor of Govans Presbyterian Church.

Ruling safeguards traditional family

Congratulations, Maryland. We can now be counted as a state that stands for traditional marriage as designed by our creator ("Divided judges refuse right to same-sex unions," Sept. 19).

We have received a fair ruling from the judges on the bench. And I stand proudly as a husband and father to praise the court's ruling for not interfering with the design of the family institution by our creator.

However, the ruling does mention the idea that the General Assembly could offer legislation to allow civil unions in Maryland.

I would suggest to our lawmakers that as servants of the people, they should poll their constituents and allow the citizens to vote in a referendum on any new laws regarding marriage and the family.

Or legislators could sponsor a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, and let the public vote on it.

That would be brave.

David Cole

Linthicum

Democracy is loser back here at home

Our young men and women are sacrificing their lives to bring democracy to the Middle East while here at home we deny the citizens of Washington the right to meaningful congressional representation ("Measure to give D.C. a vote in Congress fails in Senate," Sept. 19) and our gay citizens the right to civil unions ("Divided judges refuse right to same-sex unions," Sept. 19).

What's wrong with this picture?

Beverly Wiseman

Pikesville

Ruling makes action on unions urgent

The split decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals denying a same-sex marriage right in Maryland renews the need for quick action by the General Assembly to make the protection of civil unions available to all Marylanders ("Md. lawmakers begin preparing for 2008 battle," Sept. 19).

Heterosexual unmarried couples, elderly couples seeking to protect their Social Security benefits and same-sex families all require the legal protections civil unions can offer.

Such an arrangement would create a separate but equal legal construct, which could give all couples access to the civil rights of marriage and divorce outside of the religious context of marriage.

Josh Sullivan

Columbia

Fox right to censor profanity at Emmys

For The Sun and others in the liberal media to suggest that Sally Field was censored because the Fox Network and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, are politically conservative insults the intelligence of the reader almost as much as the word she chose insulted the viewer ("Gripes over the censors, not winners, at Emmys," Sept. 18).

To Jews and Christians alike, taking the Lord's name in vain is not only a violation of God's law but also an ugly and crass word for any mother to use, whether she has a son in Iraq or a son in preschool.

While we may be invisible to the media, those of us trying to live spiritually in a secular world are indeed offended by the use of God's name in vain.

Rhonda Altice-Jackson

Hunt Valley

BSO gala embraced a larger community

I must take issue with Tim Smith's dismissive summation of the mindset of those who attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gala as "we've-got-to-get-back-to-partying" ("Fleming soars at NSO gala," Sept. 18).

The palpable joy that abounded on Saturday night at the Meyerhoff was riveting - and it was made all the more profound by the fact that BSO Music Director Marin Alsop made sure to include in the performance a wide swath of the community she hopes to reach during her tenure ("BSO's gala features fiery moments and an eclectic lineup," Sept. 17).

And the full-length, albeit deliciously embellished, Bolero was one of the most spellbinding, exhilarating performances I've heard of that piece.

For those of us who believe music holds the potential to bridge the chasms that divide our world, the BSO gala was a thrilling harbinger of things to come.

Renowned stars may not have graced our stage. Nevertheless, the BSO gala featured the grace of a shimmering, openhearted welcome by Ms. Alsop and the BSO to a larger community than the Meyerhoff has known for years.

Louise Toby

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

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