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GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT THE REAL ISSUE

Re: Amendment 2 fate lies with black turnout - story, Oct. 24

It seems that the majority of people are quick to vote "yes" on Amendment 2, which adds a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and will also likely affect straight couples who are unmarried yet enjoy health benefits or benefits of survivorship.

In regard to the woman interviewed in this article who states, "I don't believe in gay marriage," that's fine, but please remember that gay marriage is already illegal in this state, and adding a constitutional amendment will not change that in any way. By voting yes on 2, we are allowing government into our bedrooms, where it doesn't belong.

And regarding the African-American man who says he's "tired of people shoving the alternative lifestyle down our throats ... and that gay marriage sends the wrong message to kids" - what? Voting yes on 2 allows government and the religious right to shove its views down our throats. Whatever happened to separation of church and state?

And what message are we sending to kids? That it's wrong for two people who love each other to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, but that the extremely high rate of absenteeism for black fathers is somehow okay because, well, at least they're not gay? Think of the tax dollars and hours wasted for our Legislature to come up with this one.

Please vote no on 2 and keep government where it belongs: out of our bedrooms and separate from religion!

Lauren Holcomb, Clearwater

Re: Choosing sides over marriage - story, Oct. 20

Legal ban cruel to same-sex couples

My same-sex spouse and I live in the greater Boston area, but are here in Tarpon Springs to be with my mother, who is a patient of Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. We have met many of my parents' neighbors and so many wonderful Hospice workers as well as wonderful EMTs and paramedics, etc.

Meeting so many caring and loving people who have worked so hard so that Mom can die at home gives me hope for Florida and that the citizens will not pass hateful Amendment 2. Your amendment not only forbids marriage, but also prohibits civil arrangements between gay couples. This stance is cruel to gay Floridians.

I am not gay by choice but I am gay. My husband and I enjoy marriage benefits in Massachusetts but not down here in Florida. If I got ill while here, my spouse would not be allowed to visit me in the hospital, as, in Florida, we are not married.

My major concern over your article is that it implies that gay marriage is a church issue. Let me say clearly and forcefully that it is not. Churches do not have to recognize gay marriages. I am not Christian but I am a law-abiding, taxpaying American who is proud of my country. My husband and I were married in a civil ceremony on the front porch of our house on May 20, 2004. We purposely did not get married in a church to stress the difference between civil and religious marriage.

My spouse and I are still together, monogamous and happy. We share our lives together just as many of you do. We are no different. As my Mom lays dying, she and I both hope you will defeat this amendment. Mom and Dad are both voting by mail and both are voting NO on the anti-gay marriage amendment.

We respect those against us, but please let us live our lives. Freedom is American.

Dr. James P. Coady-Hahn,Quincy, Mass.

Don't be fooled, vote yes for ban

I've been reading all of the articles that have warned voters to vote against Amendment 2 and all I can say is that they are all a smoke screen to scare voters into allowing future attacks on the definition of marriage. All Amendment 2 is meant to do is take existing law and make it a part of our state Constitution to protect it from future frivolous attacks against the definition of marriage such as are occurring all over America.

If Amendment 2 is a threat to existing nonmarital relationships, then the existing law that Amendment 2 seeks to protect should already be a threat to those relationships. Don't be fooled. Vote yes for Amendment 2.

Richard Valentine, Palm Harbor

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