Letters to the Editor

Civil rights issue

March 3, 2011


To the editor:

This is a response to Carl Burkhead’s recent letter regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (Public Forum, March 1).

Dear Mr. Burkhead: This is a free country. You are entitled to your opinion, welcome to believe anything that you wish and free to worship (or not) as you see fit. However, our government is secular. We are not a theocracy beholden to any religious ideology. Biblical scripture, the Christian concept of sin and the Christian definition of marriage are irrelevant to the issue at hand regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. This is a civil rights issue.


Paul R Getto 7 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Foster: I tend to agree with you, but you seem needlessly strident. Marriage is yet another human invention, like gods, holy works, morality, etc. Who marries whom is none of the state's business and the act itself is merely contractual and financial. Any meaning injected into the relationship is the responsibility of the parties and not the state.

Getaroom 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for your short and to the point letter B. Foster. You have made the necessary and most important points to be made.

R1_mom 7 years, 2 months ago

I think you are confusing strident with succinct. Just straight to the point.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 2 months ago

R1_mom: Could be; thanks for the advice

Larry Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

The secular definition of marriage in our law comes from the Judeo-Christian definition. The state has a very definite interest in marriage. Many property laws are based on marriage. In addition we know that it is best for children to be in a family with a mother and father.

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago


So we should be doing a lot more to ensure that people make good choices when they marry, prevent infidelity and spousal abuse, reduce divorce rates, etc.

Or are you only interested in denying rights to gay and lesbian folks?

I'm not at all convinced of your last statement - for one thing, we don't have much experience with children in gay and lesbian partnerships yet. For another, I'd think it's common sense that a stable loving family is the best one for children. Children in homes with a mother and a father who abuses her can't be the best for them, can it?

And property rights can easily be applied to non-traditional relationships - property would simply be held jointly, as it is with heterosexual marriage.

Larry Miller 7 years, 2 months ago

I absolutely agree that it should be much harder to get married.

There is a large body of research on the relationship between children and their parents. The absence of fathers greatly affects the daughters. The absence of mothers greatly affects the sons. There has to be both a father and a mother for the children to have the balanced relationships they require. This is old research - but many want to ignore it because it gets in the way of their agenda.

libra101 7 years, 2 months ago

Maybe they ignore it because there is a lot of new research that says otherwise. Kids raised by gay parents are exactly the same as kids raised by straight parents. Time to find a new reason to discriminate. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121135904.htm

deec 7 years, 2 months ago

No father or mother may be better than a lousy father or mother. There are plenty of people who had rotten parents and are messed up because of it. There is nothing magical about married heterosexual parents.

Joseph Jarvis 7 years, 2 months ago


"The secular definition of marriage in our law comes from the Judeo-Christian definition."

Marriage's religious history doesn't have to determine its future. And it has a rich civil history that could just as easily justify same-sex marriage.

"Many property laws are based on marriage."

That's not a reason to oppose same-sex marriage. If anything, it favors it; the absence of same-sex marriage produces strange legal outcomes for same-sex couples, e.g., inheritance, gift tax on transfers between living partners.

"In addition we know that it is best for children to be in a family with a mother and father."

There are thousands of children with gay and lesbian parents now without dire consequences. And the American Academy of Pediatrics has clearly stated its support for children in stable gay and lesbian households.

whats_going_on 7 years, 2 months ago

I see more children abused and forgotton by "traditional" marriages than by alternate. Maybe because those relationships are usually based on love and acceptance.

Brent Garner 7 years, 2 months ago

Whether you think DOMA is good or bad law is irrelevent. The relevent point is that the president of the United States does not have the right, power, or privilege to unilaterally change the law by refusing to defend the law. That is a dereliction of duty! That is a failure to carry out his responsibilities under the Constitution. That could well be an imipeachable offense!

libra101 7 years, 2 months ago

There isn't a lot of precedence for this, but there is some. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/weekinreview/27liptak.html

Bring on the impeachment though, after the NCAA tournament there isn't jack squat on TV.

Joseph Jarvis 7 years, 2 months ago

@Brent: President Obama isn't unilaterally changing the law. He's just said the executive branch won't defend a challenge against it. The legislative branch can step in to defend the law. Ultimately, courts will make the call.

You have to understand the position the administration was in. DOMA was challenged in the 2d circuit, which has no precedent on whether gays and lesbians deserve heightened scrutiny under the constitution's equal protection clause. It's unreasonable to suggest they don't given Supreme Court precedent (Bowers v. Hardwick, Lawrence v. Texas) and congressional action (Matthew Shepard Act, DADT repeal). Once a reasonable lawyer settles on that standard, it's just not possible to defend DOMA given its legislative history, which provides ample evidence of bias.

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