Same-sex marriage would transform American society

Your recent editorial argued that Question 6 is about equal rights and that "the gay marriage law strongly protects religious liberties" no matter what opponents say ("Gallaudet's mistake," Oct. 12).

It seems disingenuous to argue that Maryland's gay marriage law will protect religious liberties for any extended period of time. Recently the New York Times reported that Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who signed the a union bill there, did so even though he thought the religious protections of the legislation were overly broad.

"We want to get on the path to full equality, and this is a step on the path," Mr. Chafee said. Similarly, a lawyer for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Rhode Island reportedly described protection of religious liberties as "a permission slip to ignore legal obligations."

What civil rights or equal rights law allow a person to ignore the law because they don't believe in it? How long would such a law stand up to scrutiny by the courts?

To modify our laws to allow gay marriage would be to introduce a radical change in the structure of American society. It might be better to take more time to fully discuss what we want as a society before we redefine who we are.

A society cannot exist without structure. We have to decide what that structure should be. These are big questions, they require big answers and that takes time.

David C. Hill, Baltimore

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