To the Editor:

Feb 262004

In regard to Tim Bessler’s letter to the editor on the Feb. 23:

Mr. Bessler seems to miss the point of the issue entirely. The

First Amendment of the United States of America’s Constitution

specifically states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an

establishment of religion …” To hold the beliefs of a few

religions, as there are many religions in the world that are open

and accepting of homosexuality, over the rights of a substantial

group of citizens, is exactly what that part of this amendment was

written to prevent.

The issue in question is that currently a large group of the

population is being denied rights that are available to the rest of

the population for purely religious reasons. While Mr. Bessler is

right that in many religions marriage is a sacrament, what he fails

to understand is that any religion that wishes to refuse to perform

same-sex marriages will be allowed to continue to do so. That’s

also the reason for separation of church and state; the state

cannot force churches to allow practices that are against their

beliefs. However, we as homosexuals are being denied both the

ability to receive a civil marriage license and a marriage by a

justice of the peace, both of which are provided by the government

alone without religious involvement.

Mr. Bessler’s religion, and any other, may continue to exclude

gays and lesbians from being married; that is their right. It is

the state-sponsored discrimination that has to end.

Ian Mathis

Political science and chemistry

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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To the Editor:

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Feb 262004

In response to Tim Bessler’s Feb. 23 letter to the editor: we

seem to have misconstrued the concepts of both church and state, as

well as where and to whom they should rightly apply. A state should

not impose upon its citizens the religious agenda of its majority

or governing officers. This concept is the reasoning behind the

separation of church and state. But even fundamental documents such

as the constitution and the Bible, originally written to enhance a

human standard of life, can be outside the realm of literal

application due to the socio-cultural context of the historical

time frame in which they were written.

As a nation we have recognized this and amended our principle

document to reflect changing views on civil and gender rights,

while still preserving its original intentions. Maybe, it’s time to

reexamine the Bible with the understanding that it was written by

imperfect men whose biases were imprinted upon it with each

translation it underwent, and apply its true message to the needs

of a society where we aspire to recognize the rights of all men and

women as equals, respectively.

These rights include the ability to wed a loved one and have it

recognized in the same capacity as anyone else in this society. The

first couple to wed in California was two women who had been

together for 51 years! In a country where over 50 percent of

marriages end in divorce, why don’t we let all people give marriage

a try? You do yourself a disservice making unfounded, unsupported

and derogatory opinions about important groups in this society. I

support everyone seeking the right to marry in full capacity

judiciary justice.


Melissa LeBlanc

Senior, political science and marketing

 Posted by at 5:00 pm