Should gay marriage be legalized?

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Gay marriage has been a hotbutton topic this summer. The New Jersey and Massachusetts state court systems are each considering cases that could legalize same-sex unions. President Bush, Senator Tom Daschle and other politicians have all stated opposition to legalizing gay marriage. The Vatican has also launched a new initiative opposing gay marriage. What do you think? Should gay marriage be granted the same legal recognition as heterosexual marriage?

Some of your responses:

Yes, absolutely. Marriage should be about loving, supportive, nurturing relationships, and such relationships are not dependent on gender. Gay marriages will only strengthen and enrich the social concept of marriage.
Tony Sheehan
Madison, Wis.

If any loving relationship should be included in the definition of marriage, then let people marry their pets while we're at it. Then my kitten could qualify for healthcare benefits and I could get better tax breaks. It should be apparent that legalization of gay marriages is more about finances than it is about acknowledgement. Otherwise, why would gay people want to change the way the word marriage is defined?
C. Phillips

I am a young gay man who lives in Canada. Since gay marriage has become legal the sky hasn't fallen and the world hasn't ended. What has happened is I now enjoy the same rights and obligations if I ever choose to get married. To our friends down south, stay strong, eventually equality will prevail.
Alan Trinacty
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

What does marriage have to do with the Bible, or the Scripture, or Jesus Christ? This may be news to some of you, but people of all religions get married, and so do agnostics and atheists who don't even believe in God. Even if Jesus, who was supposed to be all-forgiving, can't accept gay marriage, that doesn't mean the state cannot legally recognise it. The last time I checked, America was a secular state and its laws weren't simply an extension of Christ's teachings, as interpreted by religious hardliners.
Alia Hameed
Paris, France

No! I am a Christian, and a Baptist Pastor. If gay marriages are legalized, I am prepared to spend the rest of my life in prison rather than support sinful behavior. The world has chosen to accept all manner of things as normal and permissible, but the Bible still describes homosexuality to be sinful. I openly protest promotion of this law, but if gay marriages become legal, get my cell ready because I will refuse to marry any homosexuals.
Kenric A. Prescott

God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! I didn't make the rules ... Ask God!
Brian Blackmore
Charlotte, N.C.

I find it deplorable that anyone who considers themselves a Christian to be against anything founded on two peole loving one another. Isn't that exactly what Jesus was trying to teach us? Legalizing gay marriage would be one more recognition that love conquers all.
Kathleen Morrell
Syracuse, N.Y.

As a gay parent raising two children, I find it absurd that the Catholic Church will protect and hide child molesters, and the public upholds gangster rap as a freedom but will waste millions of dollars fighting against a union of two adults. The father of the two children I am raising has not filed taxes since 1997 and owes over $20,000 in child support and does nothing to assist in raising his three children, two of which were conceived out of wedlock by two different mothers. Nevertheless, I am the immoral one. Did Christ want Churches to build multimillion-dollar facilities for pure vanity's sake or did he want us to respect and take care of one another?
R.L. Foley
Kansas City, Mo.

Yes, of course. When I think of the 50% divorce rate here in America, the homosexual community cannot possibly do worse.
Sylvia Mastandrea
New York, N.Y.

Gay marriage should not be legalized. Marriage is a unique commitment between a man and a woman that — among other things — sets up society's structure and saftey net to care for the children that are conceived in that union. The fact that children need dedicated parents — a father and a mother — is beyond dispute. This is true in both their conception and in their development and training. Any other concept of "marriage" is second rate and a cheap imitation.
John Bernert
Oneida, N.Y.

I am a church organist. I play for many church weddings a year. I listen time and time again to couples vowing to "love, honor, and cherish," knowing full well that at least 50% of them will break those vows. This isn't about sanctity of marriage. It's about the conservative vote. Perhaps the church should keep its nose out of legal contracts. And the government should stay out of religious rites.
Jackson Hearn
Houston, Texas

As a parent, I try to raise my children with a good sense of moral and legal values; to care and have respect for others. As a Christ follower, I don't believe the union of same-sex partners is right. I am not a gay basher or hater because I believe God wants us to care, help and encourage each other in our daily lives, but I do believe gay marriage is wrong. I base my response on Scripture.
Ben Romero
Highland, Calif.

Remember when it was okay to discuss whether women should be able to vote or whether black people should be able to drink out of the same water fountain as white people? I don't, though I think they would have made great questions of the week. It makes me sad to think that I will be an old man before it is taboo to discuss whether or not homosexuals should have the same rights as other Americans.
Frank Griggs
Astoria, N.Y.

No, it should not. The sanctity of marriage between one woman and one man, normally resulting in procreation, is the very foundation of our culture. As the U.S. continues its embrace of the "acceptance is divine" hoax, our culture is being erased. Do we not lament the demise of Native American cultures? Why then do we not make efforts to strengthen our own culture? Despite the force-fed propaganda, homosexuality is not normal behavior and should not be endorsed as such.
Dwayne Schatz
Titusville, Fla.

Same-sex unions need to be legally recognized. When two people make a conscious choice to share their lives together, they need the socioeconomic advantages and protections extended to different-sex unions. This has nothing to do with morality but has everything to do with equality and fairness.
Martha Dohm

Last week's question: Should Kobe Bryant's accuser's name be published online?