March 22, 2013

The March 19 letters concerning Sen. Rob Portman’s decision to support gay marriage — and especially the thoughtful comments of letter writer Rich Davis — prompted me to reply. In 1962, my family moved to a friendly neighborhood in Prince George’s County. Two older men lived together across the street. Everyone knew the situation there, and it was never a problem for anyone. The sadness we all felt when the older of the pair passed away couldn’t have been worse than if any other neighbor had lost his or her spouse. My family and our friends have always shared these feelings.

If two people find themselves deeply in love and committed to each other for life, regardless of gender, they should be able to legally join in a civil union that would provide all the legal entitlements that a traditional married couple receives. Most of my family and friends agree with this. However, we also believe in God and do not believe that society should be allowed to change God’s definition of marriage.

Mr. Davis suggested that those of us who oppose gay marriage “meet and get to know a few gay people” to see if that might change our minds. I have met and known gay men and lesbians (not just those mentioned above), and my position on marriage has not changed. The joining of two people of the same sex should not be called marriage.

Joseph Harris, Huntingtown

George F. Will asserted in his March 21 op-ed column, “DOMA’s abuse of federalism,” that the Defense of Marriage Act’s purpose is “precisely what its title says.” Not at all. The clear and unambiguous intent of DOMA was to keep same-sex couples from marrying. The driving forces behind its implementation were fear of difference and fear of change. There wasn’t even an attempt at a “separate but equal” clause. A more fitting, and truthful, name would have been “Heterosexual-Only Marriage Act.”

Across the street from my house is a length of curb that easily accommodates two parked cars. But this morning I looked out my window and saw that someone had parked in a way that prevented a second car from using that space. Did the driver feel he or she was more important? Or did he or she simply lack the imagination needed to see that two cars could fit?

If the court fails to recognize that gay and lesbian couples can marry in the same space that heterosexual couples already do, to the detriment of neither and to the betterment of all, then it will be a failure of imagination.

Dan Kaufman, Arlington