Equal rights should never be legislated or subject to the whims of 'the people,' because the people are easily led astray by the ridiculous rantings of demagogues - as evidenced by (California's) Proposition 8 travesty (To change a mind, Aug. 26).
If we left equal rights up the majority, Rosa Parks' grandchildren would still be sitting in the back of the bus and women wouldn't be able to vote.
Some things can't be entrusted to 'the people's voice,' particularly when that voice runs counter to constitutional freedom.
Every argument in opposition to gay marriage is easily shot down with logic and rational thinking. I'm surprised these people continue, when we all know deep down their opposition to it is based on fear, prejudice and a superiority complex - none of which have any business dictating the law.
James M. Gregg
Marriage already has been defined
Here is the bottom line: Marriage has been and continues to be defined as a legal union between one man and one woman. So if you start changing the definition, then where does one stop (To change a mind, Aug. 26)?
You want it to be between two people, OK, but why is that your line? Why can't it be between two women and one man, or two men and one woman? Why not between five men and four women, or any group of individuals who declare that they are in love and want to have a commitment to one another? Why?
See, at some point, most people will believe/think that there has to be some line drawn in the sand. You want a gay marriage, fine, then call it what it is: a gay marriage. It's not a marriage, because we all know the definition of that word. It is a GAY marriage because that term describes exactly what it is.
We can also have polygamist marriages because there will be no doubt as to what they are. We can have group or maybe communal marriages because we all know what they will be.
However, what the gays (and the polygamists and commune members) want is not a marriage - we have already defined that word, thank you very much.
Michael C. Wagoner
Equal rights should be for all
We believe in equal rights (in America), not just the rights the white/middle-aged/heterosexual men want people to have. C'mon, why does anyone care who someone else marries (To change a mind, Aug. 26)?
We should be able to live our own lives separately and together in our communities. Why is this such a big deal? You can't be a unified country when some segments of your society are kept from the basic rights of others.
Is that too hard for people to grasp?
Protect rights of children first
What do drunken driving, gun control, SOLV and gay marriage have in common? According to Peter Korn's article 'To change a mind,' (Aug. 26), it's only a matter of changing a mind - creating new legislation that connects these political factors.
This is about human rights. Hitler changed the minds of many to implement his plan, which involved exterminating not only Jews, but gays and people with disabilities.
To change a mind - there are two distinct opposing views: anti-gay marriage advocates, including the Oregon Family Council, and proponents of gay marriage, including Jeana Frazzini, president of Basic Rights Oregon.
I wrote Basic Rights Oregon addressing my specific concerns about children's basic rights following publicity about California's debate over Proposition 8. To date, I've received no response.
Ironically, I've heard many gays express in one form or another their opposition to same-sex marriages. Why? For reasons primarily stemming from freedom - to creating more than a monogamous relationship in their lives; to wanting change.
While both sides have valid points, straights don't have all the answers either. There seems to be an assumption that people make conscious adult-to-adult choices to be in a same-sex relationship. Bottom line - who will protect our children's basic rights?
What do drunken driving legislation, gun control, SOLV and children's basic rights have in common? What does the death of a child killed by a drunken driver have to do with legislation to ensure rights of same-sex couples?
Jacqueline Lerner Aderman
Anti-gay marriage arguments outdated
To readers who are tired of hearing about gay concerns, I'm tired of hearing about teenagers committing suicide because they're being bullied at school for being gay (To change a mind, Aug. 26). (Three teens in the past 12 months in one Minnesota school district alone - the school board is not taking any action.)
I'm tired of hearing about how gays don't belong in the military: They've always been in the military - giving their lives for this country.
I'm tired of hearing about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman when the heterosexual divorce rate hovers at 50 percent. Same-sex marriage isn't damaging marriage. Married people are damaging their marriages.
I'd much rather be hearing about people respecting their neighbors, finding networks of love and support and helping to create a better world for all.
Instead, I'm stuck hearing the same banal arguments from people who will hide behind outdated beliefs that equality is only for some. If you'd rather have your head in the sand, please keep it there.
Gun laws won't make a difference
We have enough laws on the books about firearms (Adams' gun plan taking fire from all sides, Sept. 2).
Enforce what's there and make sure we have jail space, and we should be OK. Now, there is no way that these new proposed laws will make a difference before the fact. It's been said over and over that guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Want to make a difference? Learn to shoot, go get your concealed carry permit and carry.
Lax control of guns creates danger
There does need to be tighter gun control and a change to the laws (Adams' gun plan taking fire from all sides, Sept. 2).
Guns just create more problems, especially when a large part of society seems to be paranoid. I have been assaulted once before. Most assaults come when you least expect it, which in most cases does not give you enough time to pull out a gun. One quick movement and the guy will most likely shoot you. You can fantasize that you will be the hero in such situations, but the reality is quite different.
Also, the drug cartels just south of the border are buying all their weapons in the United States on wholesale as if it were Costco, because of the lax control on firearms here. There does need to be tighter and enforced laws on gun control, and these exclusion zones that Sam Adams is proposing are just silly.
Gun control and racism intertwined
Students of civil liberties have long known that the origins of gun control are intertwined with race control (Adams' gun plan taking fire from all sides, Sept. 2).
Is it any surprise that Portland's past exclusions have been unevenly applied? Our mayor is simply applying a principle that was made very clear in the Dred Scott decision: If black people are equal to whites, then 'It would give to persons of the Negro race … the right … to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night … to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.'
If our mayor wants to stop gun violence, he doesn't need to make new classes of crimes - he just needs to keep criminals in jail.
City codes will not stop crime
Sam Adams, as a member of Michael Bloomberg's 'mayors against freedom brigade,' is simply regurgitating the latest tactics by that group, whose goal is to disarm law-abiding American people (Adams' gun plan taking fire from all sides, Sept. 2).
It's much easier to blame a machine (firearm) than it is to admit that your social engineering, feel-good 'outreach' programs are abject failures. To think that some hard-core, drug-dealing gang banger will be somehow dissuaded from crime by these pathetic city codes is laughable.
We don't need more laws, we need more jails and prisons.
'R. Lee' Willis