Should the federal government intervene in the gay-marriage debate?

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With the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling this week that a ban on gay marrage is unconstitutional, forces on both sides of the issue have been swift in their reaction. Those opposed to gay marriage, including Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, have vowed to work toward a constitutional amendment that would define marriage specifically as a union between a man and a woman. National political figures have also stepped into the debate, with President Bush saying he will "work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage." What do you think? Should gay marriage be an issue for the states to decide, or should the federal government take a stand?

Please limit your responses to 80 words or less. The best entries reflecting the balance of opinions expressed will be published on

Some of your responses:

Absolutely! The federal government must step in and stop this from spreading. What happened in Massachusetts is like dumping another bucket of foul waste into the cesspool that is continuing to poison the moral fabric in this country.
J. Holt
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Yes. the federal goverment should intervene, but not the way the Republicans want. It should do as it did in the matter of civil rights and women's rights and guarantee the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian citizens. The present situation is just a rightwing backlash masquerading as religion. Bush is simply playing to the ugly Republican base where bigots and racists go for comfort and religious affirmation.
Viki Soady
Valdosta, Ga.

The real question of the week should be "How does Gay Marriage threaten, devalue, disparage, or in any other way nullify Hetero Marriage?" Answer: It doesn't! But to let states handle this issue would be a failed policy as it was when the states were allowed to handle civil rights. States where bigotry prevails will seek to punish those seeking equality.
S. L. Demby II
Columbia, Md.

Yes, before it's to late you must draw the line. What do you think will come next? Here in Scandinavia the main issue for gay people is to be allowed to adobt children.
Brakula Greifi
Reykjavik, Iceland

Not at this time. This has been a matter for the states historically, and we will gain much by letting the matter play out in the various states. Let us see the real outcome in practice. This is not a time for political opportunism. From a moral standpoint, I see no reason for restricting people who wish to commit themselves to a lasting relationship from doing so.
Bill Robinson
Westlake Village, Calif.

As a gay man in America today, I have to share the observation that many straight people in positions of power are spending far too much of their time thinking about what happens with my penis. How's your penis? And the wife's vagina?
Stephen Crook
Austin, Texas

Yes, marriage is a union between a woman and a man. I think the federal government should take a stand and stand up for our moral future. If gay marriages are recognized then why couldn't I marry my mother and get her retirement benefits when she dies? People, we have to think about what we are setting ourselves up for legally, not just morally. What is this world coming to?
Tina Tolar
Quincy, Fla.

The entire gay/lesbian rights issue appears to be very similar to the racism and sexism issues that have come up in the past. And using those issues as a template, it is clear where the nation will end up after this struggle for equality is over. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the federal government to get involved with this issue. They will eventually get involved, anyway. It's inevitable.
Alonzo Wilkins
Troy, Ohio

Sure — but if the government does intend to control which citizens may participate in marriage, then all future weddings should be performed solely by government functionaries. If it intends to make cultural mandates and at the same time be bound by the constitutional separation of church and state, then no weddings — straight or gay — performed by the clergy should be recognized. Let's see if the long lines and backlogs at city hall can influence the government's view on marriage.
Frank Roberts
Boston, Mass.

No, the United States Supreme Court and numerous other state Supreme Courts have clearly stated that the government has not proven any legitimate state interest in doing so. This is just a hateful and mean spirited attempt by religious organizations to limit civil liberties. Homosexuals are citizens and pay their taxes and are entitled to the same rights and benefits as all citizens. Homophobic bigotry that justifies itself in religious belief must be stopped.
David Owen
Pomona, Calif.

Absolutely not. Marriage is a civil, state-regulated issue without federal constitutional jurisdiction. Religious marriage is only between an individual and god.
Clark Stanford
Iowa City, Iowa

Considering the political climate, I think they should stay out of it, and leave states to handle it. I do find it interesting and ironic that the so-called anti-big government Republican party is all of a sudden "conveniently" pro-federal government intervention in a topic that seems important for them.
James Roberts
New Brunswick, N.J.

There needs to be some type of federal intervention because a marriage law in one state can affect other states. This has been the case since the federal government twisted Utah's arm to outlaw bigamy in 1922, so it is nothing new. I do not believe that marriage is a "right", because if so then multiple marriages to the same person could also ensue: As long as the people love each other they would have that "right".
Antonio Travisco
Sacramento, Calif.

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