There are alternatives for same-sex unions that don't require destroying the institution of marriage

I never thought I would be called an extremist because I believed that marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage and the family are cornerstones of our culture that reach back more than 7,000 years. The degeneration of traditional marriage and the family are directly related to major problems we face today. These include catastrophic failure of the education systems in the inner cities, rampant juvenile crime and the weakening of the America's competitive standing in the world economy.

Are there problems with the institution of marriage? Sure there are. There are pressures and distractions from many sources, including trying to balance raising a family when both parents work. These can be very stressful when confronting something as predictable as a snow day or a bout with the flu. Other challenges take the form of substance abuse and the plethora of media confronting us. But these problems do not justify or require the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions.

It's not absurd to think that if marriage can be redefined once, it can be redefined again. Why not marriages with three or more partners? There is already the story of Shari Tendler, a 41-year-old British citizen who apparently became the world's first person to "marry" a dolphin.

Around the world where same-sex marriage has been enacted, many more problems than solutions have resulted. No good can come from going down this road.

There are alternatives to accommodate same-sex relationships, and they should be considered before rushing into a wholesale reduction of our social fabric. Regardless of the propaganda, same sex marriage is not a civil right, and it shouldn't be forced on Maryland by a few opportunistic politicians aiming to get a few more votes.

R.M. Refvem, Pasadena

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