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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

June 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Same-sex marriage debate

Define marriage

Gerry Wooldridge in his letter printed in The Times on June 8 [“Promoting family life,”Opinion], does not believe that tax advantages enjoyed by straight married couples should also apply to gay couples. The reason given was that the former produce children for “preservation of our existence on this planet.”

Marriage is for two people who have made a permanent commitment to love and cherish each other. Millions of married heterosexuals who have made this commitment do not have nor want children. Should they be deprived of their tax advantages as are gay couples? At the same time, gay and lesbian couples do have children either through adoption or through artificial means.

Gays and lesbians are taxpaying citizens entitled to the same rights as anyone else. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees equal protection of the law. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. To be able to choose one’s own lawful spouse is a basic human right necessary for happiness.

Allowing gay marriage will not stop the preservation of our existence on this planet nor will it have any influence on straight marriage.

— Lawrence Siskind, Bellevue

Same-sex families are no different

I am writing in response to a recent letter in your print edition in which the writer asserted that same-sex marriage should not be allowed because the legal and financial benefits of marriage are designed to promote family life, the raising of children, and thus the preservation of our nation.

Most of the same-sex couples that I know are raising children, just like my husband and I are. I believe this is precisely why all couples should be able to marry. Marriage promotes family life and the commitment of adults to each other and to children, which is good for our country and our future.

— Sarah Pierce, Seattle

Same-sex rights are civil rights

In Friday’s letter in the Times, Gerry Wooldridge states that marriage is “designed to promote family life and the raising of offspring ...” So by this logic, people who cannot have children should not be allowed to marry.

Women who are postmenopausal, men who have had a vasectomy, couples who choose to remain childless; all should be denied a marriage license. If we do allow these folks to marry, who have no intention of having children, then his argument against gay couples being denied marriage since they cannot reproduce is found to be baseless.

The marriage license is a contract with the government, not the church. The law is quite clear that the state cannot discriminate when it comes to contracts with the government. You cannot be denied, by law, any other type of state license simply because you are gay. This is a matter of civil rights under the constitution.

— Michael Schuppert, Seattle

Question to heterosexual couples

While reading the letter from Gerry Wooldridge, I can’t help but wonder if he realizes the missing component to his argument. His opinion is that marriage laws are designed to promote family life, however nowhere am I aware of marriage laws requiring married couples to procreate. I know many married heterosexual couples fully enjoying the federal and state benefits of being married while not bearing the responsibility of raising a child.

On the other hand, my partner and I, who have been together for 12 years, were married in a religious ceremony and have a 4-year-old son, are still not recognized as married, and have to legally protect our rights to exist as a couple while also not being afforded any of the benefits of married heterosexual couples. It is naive to assume that all heterosexual married couples will have children or that same-sex couples will not have children. (I know many same sex-couples raising one or more children, often their own biological children thanks to the advances of modern medicine.)

If we want to encourage marriage stability among heterosexual couples, maybe more research should be done into why the divorce rate is so high? Let those couples who love each other and are committed to raising a family together be recognized for the family they are without interference and without prejudice. Marriage equality and equal treatment under the law is all we are asking for.

— Leah Hunkins, Seattle


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