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To Do or Not to Do

Considering that I'm 28, male and college-educated, I suppose it's time to tie the knot with my live-in girlfriend of nearly two years ["Marriage: What's It Good For?" Nov. 29]. While I can't speak for the rest of my generation, for me, the rings, titles and expensive reception just aren't all that important. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a public declaration followed by a good party. But while our jobs are in flux and budgets tight, we are in no rush to say I do. We tell each other that every day in our continued love and commitment.

David Boersma, HOLLAND, MICH.

How can the word race not appear anywhere in your article? Despite the jarring statistic that 72% of black births occur outside marriage (compared with 29% among whites), there is no discussion of differences of marriage views among races or any mention of any correlation, or not, among the views of racial and socioeconomic groups. This is poor journalism.

Bob Marquis, EDMOND, OKLA.

Sure, the institution of marriage is in a state of culturally induced change, but many people still believe that God ordained marriage and blesses those who commit for better or for worse. The best reflection of God's covenant relationship with the human race is and will always be seen in the institution of marriage--which is why it will continue to matter.

Lawrence E. Kay, HARRISBURG, PA.

Stephanie Coontz argues that "it's just as immoral to break up a committed cohabiting relationship as it is a marriage," but there's nothing wrong with causing a couple to violate a contract they never signed. Beyoncé didn't sing "If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it" for nothing.

Michael Partyka, FRISCO, TEXAS

An eight-page cover story, a note from the editor and a comprehensive survey on the current role of marriage in society--and not a single mention of the many gay and lesbian Americans who cannot marry, no matter how much they may wish to? Ironically, they are probably the ones who most value the institution of marriage precisely because they are unjustly denied its legal and social protections.

Mike Silverman, LAWRENCE, KANS.

The Merits of Inaction

The panning of The Deathly Hallows sounds strangely hollow itself [Nov. 29]. I like that David Yates treats the story as a series and that the slow forest scenes mirror the book's. For this movie lover, the fact that the filmmakers trusted the viewers to appreciate the book material is welcome indeed.

Janet Vass Sarjeant, CHARLOTTE, N.C.

The seventh book is about the aimlessness and vulnerability of Harry, Ron and Hermione, and the review knocks the film for capturing that so perfectly? Corliss states that Hermione "must be mother to [Harry and Ron]." Yet just because Hermione is smart and capable does not mean she plays a mother role. Many movies are centered on a male character but are not reproached for having a dad figure.

Chloe Despos, CHICAGO

Debt Diligence

Thanks for Fareed Zakaria's voice of reason regarding the deficit-reduction committee and its attempts to rein in U.S. debt and deficit levels ["The Last Chance," Nov. 29]. Our family and friends consider themselves centrists and moderates, and we're more than willing to do our share to help this country in its time of need by forgoing further tax cuts or by paying a national sales tax or value-added tax. Enough with the political demagoguery. Let's unite and get to work to fix one of the greatest problems of our generation.

Paul Falcone, VALENCIA, CALIF.

Regarding Americans' lack of will to tackle the deficit, you write, "For more than a generation, we have squared this dishonest circle by borrowing vast amounts of money." We had a surplus in 2000. Kindly stop disappearing the Clinton surpluses.

Dan Gallagher, LANCASTER, PA.

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