Is marriage a constitutional right?
Regarding the Nov. 14 Opinion piece, "California's same-sex marriage case affects all of us": Author Kermit Roosevelt's argument is specious in that marriage should not be confused with our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
There have always been many state restrictions to lawful marriage, such as age or family relationship, and Mr. Roosevelt has confused rights with what is merely a clarification of the definition of the word "marriage."
What most voters in California object to is not that adults of the same gender are allowed to form a legal partnership, but the idea that they change the definition of marriage.
If a state does not permit same-sex marriages, it is not the loss of any right enumerated in the Constitution.
My right to freedom of religion, property, or trial by jury will not be threatened by the California vote.
John S. Kistler
Kermit Roosevelt's commentary concerning California's ban on gay marriage misses completely the reason behind the initiative. Marriage is a state-sanctioned institution. Homosexual couples already enjoy all of the rights the state can bestow on people who live together. Neither legislative nor judicial fiat can turn the sacred tradition of marriage on its head.
Gold standard is not the answer
In regard to the Nov. 17 Opinion piece, "Forget Bretton Woods II – we need a gold standard": Author Walker Todd states that we are on the road to the Weimar Republic because we are not on the gold standard. I do not see the support for this statement in his commentary or in the historical record.
The Weimar Republic was war-ravaged, with massive reparations expected. This, combined with its loss of industry, played a major part in the hyperinflation of Germany in the 1920s. Meanwhile, the US and other parts of Europe were going through a boom while Germany was trapped in a bust. This is not the case in our current economic crisis.
Mr. Todd also comments on massive inflation and swings in the dollar's value. From 1916 to 1920, when we were on the gold standard, we had inflation averaging nearly 17 percent. In addition, I can't imagine that both federal and local government could cut spending by the two-thirds that Todd's suggestions would require. Let's remember that the era before 1933 was before we had a large standing army, significant air transport, a national highway system, and Social Security.
We need solutions to the financial crisis, but a return to 1932 is not a viable solution.
Cycling: a gym-free workout
In regard to the Nov. 13 article, "An electric workout through pedal power": I enjoyed this profile of fitness centers that cleverly convert human effort into electricity. But let's not forget an even more elegant way to harness the power of cycling: going somewhere!
A 10-mile round trip to work becomes an automatic one-hour workout, with no membership fees and no driving to the gym. It takes only a mid-range bicycle, lights, and safety consciousness. With more bicycle commuters come more dedicated bike lanes, driver awareness, and employer accommodations. It's liberating, and the fact that I can't boot up my laptop during the ride makes it all the better.
Fort Atkinson, Wis.
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