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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about why the Iowa court made the right call on gay marriage.

(Page 2 of 2)

Mark Smelzer
New York

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A "fair reading of the Constitution'" has always erred on the side of minority rights, as opposed to the unfettered rule of the majority. That is why we have a Supreme Court system in the first place.

What if the majority decided to ban mosques or synagogues? What if the liberal majority decided to restrict free speech to those who agreed with the current administration? What if the state of Maine decided to exempt Maine businesses from sales tax while charging sales tax on goods made in other states?

When antimiscegenation laws were struck down a generation ago, there were those who said it heralded the end of marriage as we know it. But the rest of us, whether we supported interracial marriage or not, soon got used to the new paradigm, and realized that what those laws represented was fundamentally unfair.

It is also unfair to restrict marriage from those whose biology is hardwired differently from our own.

When the legislature cannot act, based on electoral fear of the tyranny of the majority, the last refuge for minority rights is the court system.

Good for Iowa, good for Vermont, good for Washington, D.C. for choosing to recognize all marriages. May the wisdom of the founders inform the California court's decision and overturn the mean-spirited and hate-filled Proposition 8.

Gina Hamilton
Bath, Maine

Matthew J. Franck's article complaining about the Iowa courts' support of gay marriage misses an important concept: US courts have always played an instrumental role in reflecting changing values in US morals.

Recall back when the courts made rulings forcing whites and blacks to attend the same schools. That was clearly the work of a court system that had decided it had the moral authority to tell communities to do things that they did not want to do. In hindsight, the courts were right. Since only the court can determine whether or not legislation is constitutional, we must place our faith in the courts that they will make the right decision.

As for Mr. Franck's belief that gays shouldn't be married, I'd recommend that he pay a little bit more attention to current science, which suggests that there are physical differences between gays and straights as evidenced by differences in their brains.

Jeff Sepeta
South Bend, Ind.

This commentary failed to address the fact that the courts are in place partly to ensure that the will of the majority does not infringe on the rights of the minority. Religion is different for everyone, and in fact does not exist for many, so why should it be considered when weighing laws that nonbelievers, too, must live under?

Novella Shuck
Nashville, Ind.

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