A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
The Supreme Court tries to fit marriage into a limited life
Editor, The Times:
Regarding “Initiative ties marriage, procreation” [Times Local News, Feb. 6]: While I’m undecided on the effectiveness of the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance’s tactics, it has a good point to make through its initiative that would ban marriage from heterosexual couples who do not or cannot procreate.
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The state Supreme Court dug its own hole when it ruled that the state could ban same-sex couples from marriage because they, together, cannot produce a child. This reasoning has several faults:
• It disparages marriage by denying that marriage has benefits to families and society beyond simply furthering procreation;
• It applies the procreation rule only when homosexuals are involved, but never when heterosexuals are involved;
• It fails to show how allowing couples who cannot or do not choose to procreate within marriage would actually harm or diminish any other couple’s ability or desire to procreate within marriage.
After all, many heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children still choose to marry — proof that marriage is useful and desirable even outside procreation. Furthermore, homosexual and heterosexual couples alike sometimes marry to protect the children they already have or they adopt.
Obviously, marriage benefits families and children whether procreation occurs or not. The court has got some explaining to do.
— Tony Nahra, Seattle
Eros in a quiver
Initiative 957 will require couples who marry to provide, within three years of their vows, a certificate of procreation verifying that they indeed created a baby within that time frame. No baby? Annul the union. Procreation, after all, is the only possible reason for the holy institution of marriage.
Performance anxiety, anyone?
— Brian Beck, Lynnwood
To America with love
Recently I was the target of hate and thrown into an unintended life of activism. Radical parts of the Russian/Ukrainian immigrant community declared war on homosexuality. Walking to the Pride Fair with other GLBT families and residents, we received verbal attacks and threats.
Many Russian immigrants came to America escaping religious persecution. Why, once in America, do they express their religious freedom by persecuting gay citizens in their adopted country on the basis of their religious beliefs? Most likely it was not God who landed them here, but the kindness, tolerance and hospitality of the American people, which includes many races, religions, family structures and sexualities.
A year ago, mentioning “Russian” or “Ukrainian” made me think of famous ice-skaters and good food. Today, those names bring something very different to my mind: intolerance, memories of being yelled at, cursed and spit upon.
I hope one day for all to be free to believe, live and love as they wish. It’s American.
— Nathan Warren Feldman, Sacramento, Calif.
A liberating devotion
Slavic evangelical hostility toward gay and lesbian Americans outlined in “Gay-rights foe finds new allies in Slavic churches” [page one, Jan. 27] tragically underscores how the persecuted become the persecutors.
America’s Slavic evangelicals have forgotten that, in former Soviet republics today, the Orthodox Church still wrongly uses government to harass, marginalize and persecute Protestants. They also fail to remember that once Hitler completed his Final Solution for the Jewish people, he planned to exterminate most Christian Slavs, whom he deemed as in-ferior as gays, Jews and Gypsies.
The lessons of history must be remembered. An attack on one group is an attack on all.
It is extraordinary to read a Christian refer to gays and lesbians as a “disease.” This is not Christian! This man has forgotten Hitler thought Slavs a “disease” on the so-called Aryan race. He has especially forgotten Jesus calls everyone to his table, even the Slavs whom Hitler would have eventually exterminated.
In the Russian Empire, Christians justified serfdom with passages from the Old and New Testaments. Slavery was never condemned in the Bible. But God’s grace blessed humankind with a deeper understanding of Scripture. This spiritual maturity exposed serfdom for what it was — an evil affront to Christianity.
How Slavic evangelicals balance their doctrine with the equality that democratic society must guarantee to all people is unclear.
One thing is certain: Christians must treat sisters and brothers made differently though equally loved by God with respect, dignity and compassion. Jesus expects nothing less.
— Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (USA), Schenectady, N.Y.
Let’s try to reconcile
We are fortunate to live in an age of evolving enlightenment where, like the fear that led us to intern Japanese Americans, relegate women to subservience and suppress other groups due to their “differences,” discrimination due to sexual orientation — albeit too slowly for its victims — is dying.
Likewise, society should tolerate the private beliefs of those who pray that their children not “become homosexuals or lesbians or have abortions or live a life of crime.” I believe that people increasingly understand, and the majority of religious leaders profess, that love and fear cannot coexist.
Pastor Hutcherson and your allies, we understand your fear and love you, too.
— Elliot Sacks, Bellevue
A Valentine from father
As God, I rarely send e-mails to newspapers, because so many of your readers and I have a more personal relationship. But Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s effort to overturn a state law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians concerns Me greatly, and I feel I must be heard.
Hutcherson’s confession that he has “a tremendous ego” is right on target. However, he’s a bit delusional when he claims that because homosexuals are a minority, they don’t deserve equal rights. That’s what many bigots said about blacks years ago but, thanks to fair-minded people, blacks now have the same rights as other Americans.
Contrary to what Hutcherson may think, I have daily conversations with many liberal people and, honest-to-Me, they are not “trying to destroy families.” They’re as compassionate and fair-minded as most of My conservative friends (although “fair-minded” doesn’t seem to apply to Hutcherson and his colleagues).
Take it from Me: Gays didn’t choose their sexual orientation any more than Hutcherson chose his. And if he really wants to put his “ego and energy” into “building a force around the world,” let him and his cohorts always remember to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
— God via Noel French, Mukilteo