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To the Editor:

On November 24th I saw in the Times Herald an editorial by a Star Parker entitled “Sodom in the Nation’s Capital”. Intrigued by the unabashed offensiveness of the title, I read on. The article castigated the Washington DC City Council for its imminent decision to join the states that have legalized same-sex marriage. While I usually refrain from responding to this sort of diatribe, this is an issue I’ve been very involved in and I found the editorial so misguided that I felt compelled to respond

As best I can tell, Ms. Parker’s argument is essentially that the problems in DC related to poverty, poor public schools and the spread of AIDS will somehow be worsened by the advent of marriage-equality. For this proposition she sites no actual evidence, and the logic of this strange assertion is not obvious. Ms. Parker just claims that religion is important, even George Washington thought so and that somehow adhering to religious values and the admonitions of George Washington will solve people’s problems, and that these things are inconsistent with gay people getting married. Hence “Sodom”.

The biggest problem I have with Ms. Parker’s argument is that she feels entitled to claim both George Washington and God as supporters of her homophobic opinions. As a supporter of full civil and human rights for gay people I am not willing to cede to people like Star Parker. The God I pray to has absolutely no problem with gay people or gay marriage. He wants everyone, including those who he has created as gay, to be happy, and find loving partners with which they can raise stable families.

Ms. Parker may pray to a different God. But we do not live in a theocracy. Neither of us has the right to use the power of the state to force our religion on those who do not share it. I have no desire to make anyone live under my religious beliefs. If Ms. Parker doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage, she shouldn’t marry someone of the same sex. I have no problem with that. But Ms. Parker has no right to deny others who disagree with her the right to live their lives as they see fit, whether she approves or not.

Ms. Parker also offers no evidence that George Washington would adopt her views towards gay people. All she cites is her assertion that our first President would want us to “rise above our baser instincts” (her quote, not his). By “baser instincts” I can only assume that Ms. Parker means sex, specifically gay sex. But there is nothing “base” about wanting to commit to a monogamous, life-time relationship with one partner for the purpose of raising a family. That is a noble instinct, and one we should encourage and enable. If Ms. Parker is truly concerned about poverty and AIDS, marriage is her answer. Married people are far less likely to be impoverished or to be spreading disease. That is why the brave officials in DC are to be commended, not condemned by people who allow their bigotry to overcome their humanity, or their logic.

Senator Daylin Leach