It is extremely distressing that your newspaper budgeted two sentences for news of the only country in the world to allow gays to marry without restriction [World in Brief, July 21].

For those who missed it: The Canadian Senate approved the Civil Marriage Act on July 19. On July 20, Beverly McLachlin, chief justice of the Canadian Supreme Court, in her capacity as deputy governor general, signed the legislation.

The Civil Marriage Act makes clear that religious opposition to same-sex marriage is not only tolerated but permitted. No denomination is required by law to marry gay couples. Yet Canada wisely recognizes that marriage is a state-given civil right. Unlike this country, Canada practices separation of state and church rather than spending countless hours talking about it.

The only possible justification for such paltry coverage is the foregone conclusion by your paper that passage by the Canadian House of Commons last month, which did garner a front-page spot, ensured enactment of the law.

Some Post writers may understand the Canadian process. Yet how many Post readers are aware of the steps that led to this truly historic decision? It's one thing for same-sex marriage to be legal in countries thousands of miles away, but quite another when it is legally available in our own back yard.

-- John DesMarteau

Washington