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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

What is there to fear about gay marriage?

Honestly, what are the opponents of equal rights for gays and lesbians afraid of when they say they want to protect the sanctity of marriage?

A recent letter writer trembled at the thought of a "massive media campaign to insinuate the homosexual lifestyle into every aspect of American life." If this writer believes a media campaign can make her husband gay, then I guess she might feel that her marriage would be threatened.

One true threat to the sanctity of marriage is that the Catholic Church, in the form of 10 priests and a cardinal, decided to sanctify the third marriage of serial adulterer Newt Gingrich. But since his partner in adultery of six years was a woman, I guess the anti-equality folks think that particular marriage is sacred.

What is worth defending are the long-held American values of liberty and equality for all.

Denise G. Mills



Bible clearly forbids same-sex marriage

In a June 6 letter, a local pastor made the case for same-sex marriage as a civil right sanctioned by God. He referenced the statements in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." He also stated that the Christian view of man as created "in God's image" requires that we extend the right of marriage to same-sex couples.

I do not think that our founding documents or the Bible supports the right of same-sex partners to marry. The Bible states that God created mankind in his image as male and female. After their creation as male and female, the often-repeated formula for marriage was made: "a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24). I question how God could be favorable toward same-sex marriage when in the Bible he states that he created us as male and female and established marriage as a union between male and female.

The state is responsible to protect essential rights granted by the creator. Those enumerated in the Declaration of Independence are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." But I question how the creator could endow a right of same-sex marriage that legitimizes a behavior that he calls: "detestable," "degrading," "shameful," "unnatural" and "a perversion" (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-27).

Christians are called to love, and care for their neighbors in spite of their particular brand of sinful behavior. But I do not think God expects Christians to support legislation that would institutionalize and normalize what he clearly forbids.

The Rev. Douglas E. Sukhia

Pastor, Armor Bible Presbyterian

Church, Orchard Park


Old way of thinking doesn't mean it's right

I read the June 17 letter, "We need to protect sanctity of marriage," and had to speak up. I'm not gay, but my brother is. He and his guy have been together 25 years, through sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer. Their relationship has way more legitimacy than a lot of marriages in Hollywood and even that of Defense of Marriage Act supporter Newt Gingrich.

She wrote, "The real question is whether we wish to live in a world where governments, school curriculums and all forms of media are designed to make everyone believe that what has been held to be immoral since the beginning of time is OK."

A lot of things seen as acceptable in history are seen as ludicrous today. People aren't put in jail for working on a Sunday. In some states, seeing a black man walking with a white woman was grounds for "justifiable" homicide. Slavery was seen as OK. Beating your children until they were covered in welts was considered none of anyone else's business. If a woman was raped, we were told it was her fault.

A good thing for the writer to remember is Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." That one is straight from the source.

Larry Schultz



Let's get focused on serious issues

It seems to me that the debate over gay marriage is pointless. The reason I say this is because the only arguments against it are either based on a person's religious belief or the fact that someone doesn't like gays. These are not legitimate reasons to deny two people the right to be married.

I don't see why the government should be involved in this in the first place. Just as government cannot tell a religion how to properly pray to God, no religion has the right to impose its beliefs on the rest of society. As for those who dislike gay people, since when is bigotry a reason to deny people the right to the pursuit of happiness? Let's drop this distraction from the real issues confronting us and let people get married.

Michael Stahl



Pile of old canoes is not a work of art

An artist dumps a pile of canoes in front of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Elmwood Avenue and calls it a work of art. Just because artists, curators and museum directors call something art doesn't mean it really is.

This "sculpture," as it has been categorized, would have relevance, at least, if it were installed on the grounds of the Buffalo Canoe Club. As it is, I think this pile of canoes near the curb of Elmwood might accidentally be picked up by the next garbage truck that comes along. The garbage men would be doing their job: removing garbage.

Joyce L. Wilson



Canoe sculpture is perfect for this area

Nancy Rubins' canoe sculpture on the grounds of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is perfect for this area. It represents our society's inability to conceptualize cause and effect. This inability to discern any negative consequences of our actions is highlighted by the purposeful but errant placement of the canoes. I propose this sculpture be named "Government Planning Gone Awry."

Matthew R. Powenski



'King's New Clothes' would be an apt name

As I have watched our new artwork grow on Elmwood Avenue, I am still waiting for artist Nancy Rubins to shape, carve or chisel stone, clay or wood, as defined by the dictionary. She has not even personally assembled her canoes. At this point her work has no name. May I suggest "The King's New Clothes"?

Joyce E. Young



Let's turn waterfront over to the Senecas

My hope for the waterfront is with the Seneca Nation, because nothing will ever happen with the disappointing leadership our city has had over these many years. The leaders of the Seneca Nation formulate a plan and follow it to fruition. Their waterfront plans are craftily thought out in order to not infringe on existing business. How great is that? It is a total embarrassment that we have never accomplished what Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Toronto had the foresight to create those many years ago.

Let's give the Senecas the Peace Bridge while we are at it. Something positive might actually happen. We could restore Buffalo/Seneca pride in our city.

Sandra Russell



Big Tobacco targets kids at an early age

As a member of the Amherst Youth Court, Amherst Youth Consortium and Amherst Youth Board, I have made it my business to understand the problems that affect my peers. Yet for all of the work that I do, in conjunction with my fellow students, to alleviate these problems there remain certain unconquerable threats within our age group. Chief among these is the prevalence of tobacco and tobacco-related products.

And though there looms a staunch taboo against these tobacco products, there is no doubt in my mind that day after day, year after year, such products become more and more entrenched in the lives of our families and friends. Children are targeted by Big Tobacco much sooner than we expect. Magazines and posters, movies and music, TV and video games, these are the mediums through which our youths are corrupted.

We must remain vigilant and heighten our awareness; not wait, complacent, for such influences to take over the lives of those we love and care about. It is no longer an option to attempt to blindly shield our children from these problems; rather, we must educate them, giving them a shield of their own. The plight of the smoker is a tragic one. It is now up to us to put a stop to it.

Marc Cohen



Teachers can thank Obama for layoffs

I am not a fan of pointing the finger of blame. But with the vast teacher layoffs around New York State, this was just another mess created by President Obama's stimulus package.

Of course the school administrators mistook this money as a rosy way to continue spending and hiring, instead of seeing and correcting the upcoming fiscal crisis that their districts were facing -- in essence, kicking the can down the road.

This again can be called an unintended circumstance due to shortsighted politics. Many more unemployed people have had their dreams shattered. This is going on throughout the nation.

Remember every Election Day, especially Nov. 6, 2012, and be sure to vote. It's time for change, for if it doesn't, there is no hope.

Scott Stenger