California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced that he will veto legislation passed by both houses of the California legislature allowing same-sex marriage because he "thinks the matter should be decided by California's courts or its voters" [news story, Sept. 8].

Did he forget that the state legislature is elected by the people of California expressly to pass laws and govern on their behalf? Or did he forget that letting the courts decide is anathema to his Republican philosophy?

It sounds as though the governor is acting on political grounds rather than heeding his conscience. I guess it's easier and more politically expedient for him to dodge his responsibility, but his action reminds me of a line from the great John Prine song "That's the Way the World Goes 'Round":

"He's got muscles in his head that ain't never been used."

JON S. OLSON

Arlington

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The Sept. 7 news story "California Legislature Approves Gay Marriage" said that in the absence of a state marriage equality law, same-sex couples are denied only a "few" of the state or federal rights and responsibilities that marriage brings.

To the contrary, despite California's comprehensive domestic partnership laws, more than 1,000 federal marriage protections are denied to families headed by same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples pay an onerous federal tax on health benefits, which can make private insurance unaffordable and increase the burden on taxpayer-funded programs. When a partner dies, the survivor pays federal tax penalties on retirement savings. And the federal government, the nation's largest employer, excludes same-sex couples from health and pension plans.

Domestic partnerships and civil unions are a step forward, but it's only with full marriage equality that every man, woman and child will get what all Americans deserve: equal treatment under the law.

JOE SOLMONESE

President

Human Rights Campaign

Washington