I believe the D.C. government doth protest too much. The plight of Craig Dean and Pat Gill in their effort to obtain a marriage license {Style, Jan. 27} does not bode well for a mayor who wishes to serve her constituents and rid the city government of officials who are not listening to the District's citizens. The District's reaction to the request of Messrs. Dean and Gill is overblown and plays into the hands of those who truly do not believe in equal rights. Mayor Dixon needs to quiet her legal staff.

History has brought us to the point where the will of the people in an open and democratic society is supposed to be above suspicion. Indeed, America, in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, reaffirms that citizens' basic rights to happiness shall not be interfered with, unless an activity is judged to be contrary to the public good.

Messrs. Dean and Gill say they should be allowed to obtain a marriage license, and have filed suit to oblige the government to grant their request. There is nothing on the books that prohibits the government from fulfilling this request. Current law provides for two consenting adults to obtain a marriage license. The District filed a countersuit saying that the couple should be denied that license because the legislation doesn't specifically say they (two men) can have it. In a free society such as ours, the absence of specific law to prohibit an activity guarantees a citizen's right to pursue his or her own convictions in any endeavor.

This case creates bad publicity for everyone. In filing countersuit against Messrs. Dean and Gill, the D.C. Council has opened itself unnecessarily to labels of bias, bigotry and intolerance of the gay community.

Two people who wish to obtain a marriage license pose no threat to themselves or society. There is no need for more laws, no need for legal suits and no moral or legal reason to deny these gentlemen's request. MARK S. GREENBERG Washington