I read "Gay rites fight echoes old battles" [News, Feb. 16] about the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to stay the decision of an Alabama federal judge who said that state's ban on gay marriage violated the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection.

The story quoted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented from the high court's decision. He said that the court's decision was made "without any regard for the people who approved these laws in popular referendums or elected the representatives who voted for them."

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The decision was made based on the Alabama judge reading and enforcing the Constitution. If President Abraham Lincoln had followed Thomas' argument, there would never have been an Emancipation Proclamation. About 100 years later, if states and cities that voted to overturn civil rights laws had followed Thomas' reasoning, there would have been no civil rights laws passed.

We live with the concept of liberty and justice for all. Our 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection and due process. It doesn't say except for gays. All means all!

Mike Bergen, West Babylon