LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Procreation isn't only purpose for unions

In his objections to same-sex civil unions and marriage, Richard J. Dowling argues that the ultimate function of marriage is the production of children, which can only be done by a man and a woman ("Worth protecting," Opinion

Commentary, March 16).

However, he carefully omits any mention of the fact that many same-sex relationships involve children - yes, produced by a man and a woman but acquired by adoption, surrogacy or artificial insemination.

I would submit that the actual production of children is secondary in the life of a family to the care, raising and love given them. And studies on the offspring of same-sex couples have shown them to be at least as healthy and thriving as their peers.

Yet these children, as well as their parents, are denied the civil rights and protections accorded to the offspring of heterosexual marriages.

How can Mr. Dowling truly be interested in the welfare of children when he would deny basic protections to some of them?

In addition, Mr. Dowling is inconsistent in his logic, since his reasoning should naturally deny the right to marry to anyone physically incapable of having children, even if they may then wish to adopt.

After all, in his view, if you can't yourself reproduce, you're just out of luck, and should be.

Despite his denials of bias, Mr. Dowling's argument is just another attempt to repress gays and lesbians, dressed up in fancy illogic.

Stephen Fox

Baltimore

I am confused: If, as Richard J. Dowling suggests, procreation is the chief purpose of coupling, clearly we should outlaw marriage among the elderly.

Likewise, I keep waiting for proposals to prevent postmenopausal women and men who have had vasectomies from having a relationship recognized by the state.

When will someone "save" marriage from these people?

Marc Kochanski

Dundalk

I want to thank you for publishing Richard J. Dowling's extremely well-written and persuasive column in defense of traditional marriage

Frankly, I have grown tired of The Sun's onslaught of pro-gay marriage articles, which suggest that the traditional view of marriage is prejudiced and outdated.

National opinion polls show that most Americans, and most Marylanders, favor traditional marriage and oppose its redefinition.

Thank you for finally presenting another side to this important issue.

Camey Hadlock

Phoenix

Richard J. Dowling is correct that the fundamental reason for the bias against same-sex marriage, from biblical times to the present, is that same-sex partners cannot procreate.

In biblical times, there was a high infant mortality rate, and the world was sparsely populated; hence the command to "be fruitful and multiply."

But today we face a very different situation involving a far lower infant mortality rate.

Indeed, overpopulation is causing all sorts of problems, from global warming to overcrowded urban areas.

So I hardly think gay marriage will cause the extinction of our species; in fact, in these times, more gay marriage and less procreation might be a good thing for our world.

The push to maintain marriage as one man and one woman is more about maintaining the contemporary social status quo than about religious faith.

What really matters is that people are committed and loving in their marital relationships, and on those fronts, we straight people have enough problems of our own.

I believe that in 50 years, we will find today's homophobia as silly as we now find the racism of 50 years ago.

The Rev. Brian Adams

Lansdowne

Foolish war ruins reputation in world

The Sun's excellent editorial "Five years and counting" (March 19) is absolutely right: Five years into a bungled Iraq war, the pollyannaish statements by President Bush and his vice president defy reality and insult common sense.

America's essential role in the world has been immeasurably weakened by the Bush administration's adventure in Iraq.

The Bush administration had a great opportunity after Sept. 11, 2001, to seize upon the respect and sympathy for the United States by uniting the world to fight the scourge of terrorism.

Instead, the Bush administration and its neoconservative cronies have dangerously alienated the international community and made the leadership of the United States mistrusted by all.

Fariborz S. Fatemi

McLean, Va.

The writer is a former staff member for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Coordinate efforts to control terror

A serious issue was buried in The Sun's article on the U.S. military's preparations for asymmetrical warfare - the fact that civilian and intelligence agencies are not coordinating with the Pentagon in crafting a "whole government" response to this threat ("U.S. facing new world of warfare," March 17).

The government needs to come together to deal with this threat; our survival may depend on it.

Roger Lerner

Ellicott City

Politics also plays on fears of whites

In "Black and mad" (Opinion

Commentary, March 20), Erin Aubry Kaplan refers to the anger of black people as "primal."

What about the primal fear of white people?

I, too, cannot disown my relatives - be they uncles, aunts, a sister or even my mother, who, when Gen. Colin L. Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked, "Are colored people taking over the country?"

This is clearly a manifestation of the kind of fear white people have of black leaders.

It is a fear that has been played on all too readily in the "Southern strategy" based on winning white votes on the basis of racial fears.

I think Sen. Barack Obama should be applauded for handling this issue forthrightly.

As a white baby boomer, I'm disgusted at how the issue of race is once again rearing its head to distract us from the real issues concerning the disarray our country has been left in over the past seven years.

David Cramer

Baltimore

Driving, phoning a dangerous pair

I agree completely with the letter "It's past time to ban phoning and driving" (March 19).

When I'm driving, I can always tell if the driver in front of me is on the phone - as drivers on the phone often drive slowly and erratically, and many times go off the road or over the center line.

My daughter insisted that I get a cell phone for emergency use. I reluctantly agreed, but I'm not comfortable driving and talking on the phone.

It's impossible to concentrate on driving while talking on the phone - which can be disastrous in the face of drivers who cut you off, tailgate and have absolutely no respect for human life or courtesy toward other drivers.

Other states have banned hand-held cell phone use while driving. It will happen here.

Let's make it happen soon and save some lives.

Carol Brandwein

Owings Mills

Wealthy can afford small tax increase

If the writer of the letter "Fleecing top earners is unfair, unwise" (March 16) is right that wealthy Marylanders would rather move than pay higher taxes, we should all fear for the future of our state.

Fortunately, there is evidence that the letter writer underestimates the civic commitment of Maryland's top earners.

Recent polling suggests that the majority of our upper-income neighbors support higher taxes that would apply only to themselves.

They understand that the challenge Maryland faces is not, as the letter writer puts the point, that "the state finds itself in need of income," but that we as a community need to invest more in our shared educational, health care, transportation and environmental future.

Over the coming weeks, our legislators will face a revenue choice between enacting a business tax that threatens a growing industry and asking some of the wealthiest of our neighbors to invest more of their personal income in building a better future for Maryland.

Fortunately, those earning more than $750,000 a year can afford to pay an additional 1 percent or one-half of 1 percent of their income in state taxes.

Let us hope that legislators will make the right choice.

Matthew Weinstein

Baltimore

The writer is Baltimore region director for Progressive Maryland.

Turn the 'art fence' into something finer

Here's what I think about the controversial "art fence" in Mount Vernon ("Art puts park under lock, key," March 20).

Let's take the gold-link fence in Mount Vernon and wrap it around the silver Male/Female sculpture in front of Penn Station and smelt them both down to make something that restores balance, harmony and beauty in the universe.

Eileen A. Carpenter

Baltimore

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