A defin­ing time for gay rights

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Jus­tices view gay mar­riage with doubt,” April 29

In re­sponse to Supreme Court Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy’s ques­tion dur­ing oral ar­gu­ments Tues­day about the def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage be­ing con­stant over “mil­len­nia,” time does not le­git­imize any prej­u­dice.

As long as the hu­man race has ex­isted, there have been same-sex cou­ples, gen­er­ally cloaked in se­crecy and in fear for their lives. To fight for their civil right to love and dig­nity in a com­mit­ted union was vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble un­til the last cen­tury. Only the ad­vent of uni­ver­sal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and its ex­po­sure of truth to the masses could begin to lift the veil of mis­un­der­stand­ing about same-sex re­la­tion­ships.

To­day, most Amer­i­cans find no cause to con­tinue to deny this ba­sic civil right. But as has also been true over time, the ig­no­rance and ha­tred of a few will never di­min­ish.

As with other cases of civil injustice set right by deny­ing the tyranny of a mi­nor­ity view, so now too should the case for civil injustice to ho­mo­sex­u­als be de­nied.

Michael Darner

Los An­ge­les

Mar­riage isn’t as big a deal as it once was. It’s no longer about le­git­imiz­ing sex, chil­dren or living ar­range­ments. Now it mainly gives a cou­ple a tax sta­tus and some so­cial sup­port. The Supreme Court should prob­a­bly take it off the list of fun­da­men­tal con­sti­tu­tional rights.

Per­son­ally, I didn’t even re­al­ize “free­dom to marry” was on the list when I ar­gued at a na­tional League of Women Vot­ers con­ven­tion that the group should sup­port same-sex mar­riage. I gave statis­tics show­ing eco­nomic ben­e­fit, and the league adopted a sup­port­ive po­si­tion for use in demo­cratic pro­cesses.

There are valid points on both sides of the ar­gu­ment be­cause men and women are dif­fer­ent in mean­ing­ful ways. So it’s OK to let vot­ers and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives set the pa­ram­e­ters of civil mar­riage.

Peo­ple now re­al­ize that there’s a very strong so­cial and eco­nomic case for same-sex mar­riage. If Tex­ans don’t care, let Texas suf­fer.

David A. Holtz­man

Los An­ge­les

Over the cen­turies, mar­riage has been a con­tract af­ford­ing cou­ples rights of prop­erty, in­her­i­tance, tax­a­tion and med­i­cal de­ci­sions that sin­gle peo­ple do not re­ceive.

If Jus­tice Kennedy has ever wit­nessed the treat­ment in an emer­gency room of a co­matose “fam­ily-less” gay man and his life­long part­ner, he would know why deny­ing the rights of mar­riage to th­ese peo­ple is not pro­tect­ing them un­der the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

In com­ing to his de­ci­sion, Kennedy must de­cide if he is weigh­ing a “right” or a “word.” The right must be granted. The def­i­ni­tion of the word can al­ways be mod­i­fied, just as the word “gay” has been since I was a happy lit­tle girl.

Shelly Lapi­des

Santa Su­sana

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