In response to the letter "Same-sex unions aren't marriages" [Aug. 6], the writer offers a definition of marriage that, although dressed up in the language of nature, smacks of the same old religion-derived exclusionism that characterizes the arguments against same-sex marriage.
The writer's canard about marriage having "the intrinsic purpose and possibility of generating children" is demonstrably incorrect. To my knowledge, no authority checks a heterosexual couple's fertility before they're married.
Those of a religious persuasion might view marriage as a covenant between the deity and two people committing to one another, and the religiously inclined might view physical intimacy as an activity reserved for procreation within marriage. However, the secular government of the United States makes no claim to oversee sacred covenants, and marriage in this country requires neither procreative ability nor intent. Once two adults are married -- indeed, even before they are -- they may engage in intimacy for whatever reason they want.
There is no meaningful difference, by the writer's own standard, between heterosexual couples who, for medical reasons, cannot have their own children, and homosexual couples who cannot produce children, except the religious standard he holds. And although he is certainly entitled to his religious views about what is moral and what is not, a pluralistic country such as the United States cannot withhold civil rights from certain people just because religious adherents object to whom they love.
If marriage centers on procreation, then the writer believes an awful lot of marriages ought to be dissolved.
Dan Ferrisi, Garden City
I am shocked and appalled by the letter written by a minister under the heading of "Marriage is more than procreation" [Aug. 10].
The writer should not conflate love with marriage, and should not insult our intelligence by making suspect comparisons.
I am also deeply offended by her allegation that the Defense of Marriage Act must be eliminated, "as it has nothing to do with nature or God." It has everything to do with both nature and God.
Her last statement demands an apology. Her specious claim that same-sex couples enter marriage for the same reason as straight couples is flat-out wrong. There have been gays throughout history and they seemed to do fine without marriage.
This is not about equality. In fact, it is the opposite of equality; it is about having more. In rereading my Constitution, I did not see any mention of sexuality in the law of the land at all.
John Savin, Massapequa
I would respectfully but vehemently disagree that the intrinsic purpose of marriage is procreation ["Same-sex unions aren't marriages," Aug. 6]. If that were the sole reason to enter into matrimony, then I suppose "women of a certain age" and those who are physically incapable of procreating would probably not qualify for marriage either, since the purpose of such a union could not include the "possibility of generating children."
Kathleen Glass, Merrick
In response to "Same-sex unions aren't marriages": So an infertile heterosexual should not be allowed to marry? Nor should a couple who choose not to have children?
I guess the writer doesn't consider adoption natural, either. This may be his religion and opinion, but it is not mine. He can choose not to marry anyone in his church, but he cannot dictate whom I choose to marry in my state and country.
Susan Scharf, Flushing
I am beyond offended by the writer who wrote, "the person entering a heterosexual marriage and the one entering a homosexual union choose substantially different objective realities" ["Same-sex unions aren't marriages," Aug. 6].
Excuse me? I knew I was gay from childhood, fell in love with another women, got married, conceived two beautiful children through fertility treatments and lived happily ever after. That sure sounds like the same objective reality as any heterosexual.
I also would like to comment about the writer's view of our love as unnatural. My love for my wife and family is the most natural thing I have ever felt. It is completely unfair that religious groups continue to deny this reality.
Whether it is or isn't a choice to be gay is insignificant. Marriage is based on love, not tradition. We share the same core values and ethics as others. God created us all equal, and for some reason anti-gay groups continue to focus on negative interpretations of religious tenets, instead of their true meaning, which is to love and accept one another regardless of our differences.
That is a more natural belief than unfairly speaking against fellow mankind.
Jamie Carson, Farmingdale
With all due respect, the writer of "Same-sex unions aren't marriages" and others like him are unwilling to grasp the separation of church and state. Same-sex couples want equal legal rights under the marriage laws; we are not attempting to change religious beliefs or value systems.
Our society has always aimed to treat citizens equally, although it frequently takes protracted efforts. Our founding fathers did not consider the nature of homosexuality and thus could not have properly understood it.
It is offensive to me that the writer believes that granting equal marriage rights to me and my husband is a "call to strike down ... nature's God." I am a Roman Catholic and have the same God as he does.
If the writer believes so strongly in that the purpose of marriage -- is to generate children, I do not understand why he is not protesting marriages that lack the possibility of children, whether it be due to disability, illness or age. Let's get to the root of the issue: Do we want civil equality for citizens or do we not?
Keep your religious laws as you see fit, but don't deny me my legal rights.
Bob Corsentino, Deer Park
The assertion in the Aug. 6 letter that marriages are for "the intrinsic purpose and possibility of generating children" makes one consider whether the writer carries the same outrage against those who marry who are infertile, past the childbearing years or unwilling to become parents.
In the writer's rush to rationalize a reason to object to same-sex marriages, he denies intellectual honesty.
Rick Eichner, Dix Hills
The Aug. 6 letter presents a flawed argument against same-sex marriage. In fact, the possibility exists that children can be reproduced without a legal document stating that the reproducing couple are married.
This writer's argument would then extend to opposite-sex couples who cannot bear children; of course, no one is opposed to a marriage of an opposite-sex couple in their early 60s.
The priest mentions the founding fathers; they were actually determined to create a government free from religious interference. If he opposes same-sex marriage, then he should not marry someone of the same sex. And, if he wants a government run by religion, he should consider moving to Iran.
Incidentally, the state of New York passed a law stating that same-sex unions are marriages. That's the law. Get over it.
Jim Seitz, Port Jefferson