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Gay marriage

Avoid judicial activism:
the rule of the minority against
the will of the majority

Editor, The Times:

It’s really too bad The Seattle Times decided to side with gay-marriage advocates and only publish letters supporting the Supreme Court of California’s decision to usurp democracy, the will of the people [“Setting the date,” Times, Northwest Voices, May 20].

I don’t really give a rip if you’re for it, against it, or indifferent. If you want to make a change in the law, do it the way everyone else has to: by voting on it. If this is such an important issue, let’s vote on it. It’s shockingly ironic that the party of “count every vote” would be the same championing the overturning of the will of the people.

The reality is, in nearly every instance when the voters have been asked to affirm marriage as one man, one woman, they have done so — overwhelmingly. Gay-marriage advocates know this.

The fact that gay-marriage advocates have to impose their minority will on the people through activist judicial fiat is extremely suspect. Perhaps they know that most Americans are against their radicalism. If this truly is a human-rights issue, let’s debate it like every other issue the way Americans are meant to.

Let’s put judicial activism to rest.

&#8212 Eric Pilon, Bothell

Consensual makeup

This letter is in response to “Calif. measure will test public opinion on gay marriage,” [News, May 16].

According to societal standards, a homosexual person is one who is sexually attracted to others of the same sex. Except for a genetic variation of nature, they are virtually identical to their heterosexual counter parts. They feel the very same kind of attraction to the same sex as heterosexuals feel about the opposite sex. Now, granted, there are those people who freely choose this behavior as a form of “lifestyle,” but that accounts for a very small population of homosexuals.

Some would argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality but I believe (through the persistence of science) this behavior will be proven to result from natural genetic variation. One can draw on the example of mentally and physically disabled people who by no action of their own are born comparatively slow or deficient in mental, physical or emotional growth. Homosexual people are therefore entitled to engage in sexual behavior consistent with their genetic makeup so long as it is between consenting adults.

To deny them this right would be the same as denying heterosexuals their right to consensual sex. Human beings are sexual beings, as was intended by their creator.

To suggest that a genetic variation of nature somehow makes homosexuals less human is indeed an inhuman concept.

&#8212 Joe Bialek, Cleveland, Ohio

Israel at 60

Situation: discrimination

Martin Jaffee wears the usual blinders about Israel at age 60 [“Israel at 60: a time of pride and reflection,” guest columnist, May 16]. While we must sympathize with Holocaust survivors, the Palestinians are not responsible for Nazis. Why must Palestinians pay for what European gentiles did to Jews?

How can Jews, Christian Zionists and others have unqualified pride in a county that was founded through ethnic cleansing that still goes on in a chronic, insidious form 60 years later? Why have pride in a country that is based on apartheid, openly discriminating based on religion? Whose economy is addicted to war? Who besieges Gaza, turning it from the largest prison in the world, slowly, into the world’s largest concentration camp?

Sure, it hasn’t yet reached the levels of Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen, but why must those who have proclaimed “Never Again” look the other way while it happens again?

About 5 million Jews and 5 million Palestinians are now living between the Mediterranean and Jordan River, not to mention more than 6 million Palestinians living in exile. It is time to secularize Israel-Palestine and insist that all who live there have equal civil and human rightsnot a country where only half have civil rights based exclusively on being Jewish.

&#8212 William Dienst Jr., Omak

All men in are not equal

Martin Jaffee’s piece expressing his pride in the state of Israel offers us a distorted view of Israel. By embracing Israel as a Jewish state, Jaffee is expressing his admiration for a discriminatory country that awards privileges to one group of its citizens over all others.

Is Jaffee proud that non-Jewish citizens of Israel are awarded a fraction of the education and administrative budgets that Jews receive? Is he proud that non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not have the same rights to buy land as Jews do, and that Jews and non-Jews are not permitted to marry each other? Is he proud that Israel today is engaged in a process of collective punishment in Gaza, which has led to people literally dying from starvation, lack of electricity and basic medical supplies? Is he proud that Israel imposes an apartheid-like system inside the West Bank made up of Jewish-only roads and settlements, and hundreds of military checkpoints all built on Palestinian land?

I’m not sure what “transcendent vision of human possibility” he believes in, but my vision of a human possibility does not include discrimination in any form.

&#8212 Khaled Boulos, Seattle

The nonexistent absolute truths

During the past several weeks, a number of articles and letter to the editor have appeared in The Seattle Times, as well as other local and national media, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

Martin Jaffee’s article may serve as a model of a measured, reflective and wise expression of opinion that is able to see the good and the not-so-good of the establishment of modern Israel. Jaffee shows his maturity and wisdom in being able to perceive shades of gray and of eschewing “the false absolutism of black and white” in the history of human affairs, including that of Israel, and, I would add, the lives of all individuals. Certainly it is a mark of psychological and spiritual health and maturity to be able to hold together one’s perception of “good” and “bad” and not to split it into absolutes that are half-truths.

Jaffee acknowledges the flaws in its establishment and history, yet also expresses his pride in Israel, which, in the face of continual threat of annihilation by its geographical neighbors and ongoing hostility of the human-rights activists of the West, continues to insist on “the humanity of the Other even while celebrating [its] own.”

For similar reasons, I am also well aware of the flaws of my own country, the United States, and also very proud of it.

&#8212 William Carr, Vashon

Challenged and changed, not celebrated

It is disturbing that Martin Jaffee is the chair of Jewish studies and professor of international studies at the University of Washington. Being Jewish and proud of our history as fighters of Nazism and champions of the beleaguered, I am very concerned that this history is besmirched by apologies for Israel’s crimes — their assault on the lives, property and homeland of the Palestinians, which began 60 years ago.

As Jaffee references, the members of my family who did not emigrate to the United States were “consumed in the incinerators of Eastern Europe,” and this is a reason to not let the United States and Israeli governmental atrocities to continue. They must be challenged and changed, and not celebrated.

&#8212 Adrienne Weller, Seattle

Closed school

Can’t go to college

So, let me get this straight. Some of my tax dollars are going to support a public state university and our top in-state high-school graduates can’t get into it because we allow international students in?

After reading the story about the record number of rejected applicants to the University of Washington, that’s the opinion I walked away with [“University of Washington rejects a record number of applicants,” Local News, May 17].

My son will graduate high school in 2013, so he will be in the same situation as the current freshman class. I would hope that if he did well in school, he would be accepted into any of the public universities in the state.

This idea that they need to be a straight-A student with letters in sports, a member of several clubs and have huge hours of community service just to maybe get into a public university is outrageous! The universities (not just the UW, but all of the publicly supported higher education schools) better look at their admission criteria again and make Washington state children their priority!

&#8212 Angela Graves, Renton

Victory in Iraq

McCain’s brouhaha

John McCain says, “I didn’t know when we were going to win World War II; I just knew we were going to win.” Now he knows we are going to win in Iraq, by 2013 [“McCain sees troops out of Iraq by 2013,” News, May 15].

He was 8 years old, or less, when he knew we were going to win World War II. What a guy!

But it’s more likely he would keep our troops in Iraq for a 100 years than get them out in five.

&#8212 Roger Lippman, Seattle