Help select June Letter of Month
Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year.
Help us choose from the nominations for letter of the month for June by visiting the website listed below by Friday. Read through the three letters and vote on the ballot at the bottom of the web page. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly help.
To see the three June nominees and vote, go to www.tampabay.com/opinion.
A right for all | June 27
Opening a can of worms
In 1973, the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade declared abortion to be a constitutional right at a time when the states were gradually moving to accommodate and legalize the procedure, though with restrictions. Legal abortion was mandated across America with the result that it remains a political issue after 42 years.
The Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right guarantees that it will, like Roe vs. Wade, raise its head in state and national elections for the foreseeable future. The Earl Warren Supreme Court was criticized for legislating from the bench in public school prayer and Bible cases. In writing the majority opinion in Obergefell vs. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy is carrying on that misguided judicial tradition with a same-sex marriage ruling that will spawn legal questions over tax exemptions for churches, religious schools and organizations whose beliefs conflict with that decision.
David P. Carter, Seminole
Marriages still not equal
With the recent Supreme Court decision declaring that same-sex couples have as much right to marry as opposite-sex couples, we may be on the precipice of a renaissance of civil rights and equality not experienced since the 1960s. And just as we no longer classify marriages as being either interracial or segregated, we may soon be in an age when we do not classify marriages as either same-sex or opposite-sex.
But in this state, we are not quite there. And this has profound consequences for Florida's children.
There is a strong presumption in Florida family law that a child born during an intact marriage to a husband and wife is presumed to be a child of the marriage, regardless of whether both parties are actually the biological parents. In fact, according to a long line of cases, this presumption of a child's legitimacy is one of the strongest presumptions known to law and is based on protecting the sanctity of the family and the welfare of the child.
The presumption means that both opposite-sex parents will be placed on the child's birth certificate, and both will be considered the child's guardians. Both parents will be able to make decisions concerning the child's education, health care and general welfare, and the child would have the right to inherit from both parents in the event either dies without a will.
And yet, a child born within a same-sex marriage may not be afforded these same protections. As of today, Florida's Office of Vital Statistics, the government agency charged with issuing birth certificates, refuses to recognize both parents of children of same-sex marriages without a court order. This puts an emotional and financial strain on same-sex spouses not required of opposite-sex spouses to hire attorneys, pay a court filing fee and plead their case in front of a judge simply to be recognized as parents of their children.
For there to be true marriage equality, the children of all marriages must be treated equally. Vital Statistics should list both parents of a child born within an intact marriage — whether opposite-sex or same-sex — on a child's birth certificate.
Adam B. Cordover, Tampa
Hoover's ugly legacy
In light of the removal of the Confederate flag and other symbols of the Confederacy, we must also consider eliminating the name of J. Edgar Hoover from all government buildings.
This is the man who, as director of the FBI, not only mandated the illegal spying on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. but was complicit in allowing the murders of the original Freedom Riders in the early '60s. The FBI was made aware of these issues with their paid informants in the Ku Klux Klan.
If any symbol of racism and treason needs to be removed, the name and face of Hoover would be more symbolic than abolishing the flying of the Confederate flag.
Daniel Lee Davis, Tarpon Springs
The Buzz winner of the week | June 28
Winners and losers
I think the Tampa Bay Times should give Adam Smith a long vacation. He obviously needs one after declaring that the "winner of the week" was the GOP leadership. Last week the liberal agenda bounded forward, leaving Republicans in the dust. It was possibly one of the best weeks ever for liberals and President Barack Obama.
Republicans were the losers of the week. They lost their racist flag; they lost the chance to rip away health care from millions of people; and they lost on stopping people who love each other from getting married.
Susan Thompson, South Pasadena
Yay! There are more of us! | June 27
No cause for celebration
It is irresponsible for a respected newspaper to publish an article crowing about the fact that the U.S. birthrate is higher.
Poverty, world hunger and global warming are all results of the overpopulation of the Earth. It would make more sense to publish statistics about these problems and how they can be solved by controlling population growth.
Diane S. Bernstein, Gulfport