Supporters of President George Bush's proposal for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages should carefully consider the full ramifications of that proposal --- if they also support the freedom of religion safeguarded by our Constitutional Bill of Rights.
While there are many Christians and members of other religions who believe that the marriage of a loving, committed couple who happen to be homosexual is morally wrong, there are a growing number of Christians and others who believe that such marriages are morally right. Thus, the proposed Bush amendment would restrict the freedom of religion for those Christians and others who believe gay marriage is morally right. And if the freedom of religion can be restricted for progressives today, might not the freedom of religion be restricted for conservatives tomorrow?
No one is proposing that clergy of those religions that do not support gay marriages should be forced to officiate over them. Those of us who support the right of gays to marry seek only to ensure that they have the same rights as all other citizens. The great rights of humankind, contained in our Bill of Rights, are evolving concepts that must be fought for on a daily basis. Many citizens were excluded from the protection of the Bill of Rights when it was adopted by our founders. Blacks, women, non-property owners --- all have had to struggle to be included in the protections that should be available to all.
The Bush proposal, like so much of his regressive agenda, flies in the face of the fundamental values of American democracy: freedom, justice, equality, and human rights. While these remain ideals and not fully the reality, we have a responsibility to work toward the fulfillment of that vision set down over 200 years ago.
William J. Benet, Pearl Street, Rochester (Benet is a Monroe County Legislator
representing the 23rd legislative district.
For the 100th (1000th?) time in his career, George Bush has come up on the wrong side of an issue. I speak about his support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage. He says he wants to protect the sanctity of marriage. I believe him. It's just that he doesn't seem to have a clue about what makes a marriage sacred. Is it the sex of the couple involved? Or is it the love and commitment two people bring to the relationship? I believe it's the latter.
It also appears that he wants to use the federal government to promulgate his individual moral choice on the issue. Separation of church and state, anyone?
Dan Quilty, Kosciusko Street, Rochester
Thank you, City, for helping Congresswoman Louise Slaughter expose the livable Communities Initiative ("The Livable Communities Myth," February 11). When Slaughter had said that no transportation funds would be available, Senators Clinton and Schumer soon said funding was possible. Of course, no one could understand the discrepancy between the statements.
Bill Nojay's dream, or pipedream, must be a nightmare for the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority's Renaissance Square Development Corporation. If the entire plan for Renaissance Square as a complex is based on a fallacy of nonexistent funds, are we back at the beginning, ready to consider building a bus station somewhere?
Given the arbitrary planning and presentation of the project and the resulting lack of acceptance of the location or of placing the bus terminal underground, how can any consensus be reached?
Mayor Bill Johnson and County Executive Maggie Brooks should call for creating a process to involve all relevant groups in considering alternative sites and other basics, to come up with a new plan.
Byrna Weir, Chelmsford Road, Brighton
A new entry for the political dictionary: George Bush /noun/ A one-term president; see Deficits, High unemployment, Big energy.
Daniel T. Spiegel, 260 Straub Road, Greece
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