Vice President Cheney's statement on gay marriage is a surprise but hardly progress [front page, Aug 25]. Leaving marriage as "a matter for the states to decide" is a segregationist argument. It was made in 1967 when the Supreme Court struck down the ban on interracial marriage that existed in 16 states (Loving v. Virginia).
For many Americans, distinguishing between marriage as a religious right and marriage as a civil contract is difficult. The Bush administration and other conservatives contend the two are the same. Making the conservative, Christian view of marriage the law of the land is what the Defense of Marriage Act and the proposed constitutional amendment are about.
Look at marriage as a civil contract, like a loan agreement. By the Defense of Marriage Act rationale, if I borrow money in Texas and move to Virginia, my debt is void, right? Virginia doesn't have to recognize a contract executed in another state, which is what the act essentially states. But that violates the "full faith and credit" portion of the Constitution; that's why conservatives feel the need for a constitutional amendment to secure this new form of segregation.
KEVIN B. ROST