Calling the interaction between Rob Marshall and Evan Wolfson a debate [“Gay marriage ban debated,” Government News, October 10] is generous indeed. Essential elements of debate are refuting the points your opponent has made and responding to questions he raises. Delegate Marshall did neither. Instead, he treated the crowd to outrageous pronouncements, including the news that homosexuals are not denied marriage licenses. (Well, true—they just can’t get them to marry the people they choose to.) He challenged us to name one famous homosexual who wants to get married (isn’t Rosie O’Donnell famous enough to qualify?), as if only famous people qualify for rights in this country. He insisted that homosexuals have never been denied drivers’ licenses or the right to vote (is that in his future plans for legislation, too?). He somehow brought in ancient Rome and Greece, although it’s not clear how those societies (where homosexuality was much better accepted than in ours) bear on the choice we need to make in November.
    Cheap rhetoric aside, the facts are pretty clear. There are thousands of children being raised in families with no legal standing, and they suffer economically and psychologically because their parents cannot get married. (Most of them come from unhappy heterosexual unions, by the way. So much for traditional marriage.) There are thousands of parents who are forced into myriad legal agreements simply because they cannot get married, and every one of those legal agreements is threatened by an amendment which could nullify them. Lawyers on both sides agree they just don’t know how courts will interpret the amendment if it passes. And interpretation will be left in the hands of judges. This is ironic, since proponents of the amendment consistently say Virginians must be protected from “activist judges.”
    In the meantime, heterosexual marriage has a lousy track record, but no one is seriously proposing that we ban divorce or enact harsh penalties for adultery. Adults can make astoundingly stupid choices in marriage (repeatedly, too), so long as they choose someone of the opposite sex. It’s pretty hard to see the stubborn refusal to extend this right to same-sex partners as anything but discrimination.
    It’s not illegal to be gay in Virginia. Why does it have to be so difficult? Vote NO on the Marshall/Newman amendment to keep discrimination from becoming enshrined in Virginia’s Bill of Rights!

Lynn Heath

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