Letters to the Editor - Feb. 25

February 25, 2012

Recruiter thanks community for welcoming him

To the editor:

I wanted to take a moment to give a special thanks to the Washington County community. I had the honor of serving as a local Army recruiter for active duty and the Reserves from May 2008 to August 2011. I had the privilege of shaking hands with thousands of Washington County residents and students, and have wonderful memories that I will carry with me for years.

I want to thank the community for always welcoming soldiers with open arms. Whether I was at work and out walking around in my uniform or at a restaurant with my family, there wasn’t a day that went by that at least five to 10 people didn’t come up to shake my hand or just yell out a “thank you” as we passed. Living in a community away from our normal way of life on a military base is sometimes different. So, for us to be welcomed and appreciated goes a long way in our minds and our hearts.

I want to thank the people I had the privilege of speaking to on a professional basis about their careers in the United States Army. Whether you decided it was for you or not, it was great to speak with you and I wish you nothing but the best. To the soldiers with whom I had the honor of working in accomplishing their first step of becoming a soldier, thank you. To the mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons who shed a tear when we shipped your soldier off, thank you. I know saying goodbye to your soldier is never an easy thing. And to my fellow recruiters of all branches of the military, it was great to share many experiences with you and I wish you all the best in your careers.

Once again, thank you for everything.

Staff Sgt. Gregory S. Winebrenner
United States Army

State’s concern for marriage is strictly civil

To the editor:

While Diane Eves (“Concept of same-sex marriage is a false one,” Feb. 11, 2012) sets a respectful tone in a debate that too often degenerates into hateful rants (see D. Hutson’s letter of Feb. 15), I must disagree with her thinking that our laws about marriage should be based upon one religious text.

Not to downplay the formative role of religion in our history, but our founders clearly separated government and religious institutions. Neither the state nor religion should control the other. Our nation now includes many religious traditions, but we cannot base our laws on the theology of any one group.

For the state, marriage is a civil contract between two consenting adults and the government, which agrees to acknowledge those individuals as a unit with certain rights and responsibilities. Spouses agree to support and take responsibility for each other in numerous ways, with certain additional rights and responsibilities if children become a part of the family. However, many couples remain childless and are still considered married by the state. The state’s interest in marriage is strictly civil. The right to marry should not be dictated by the beliefs of any religious institution or tradition.

Most religions have beliefs about marriage that go deeper than these civil concerns. However, the government cannot base the rights of all citizens upon the religious beliefs of one group, even if they are in the majority. Our Constitution does not give the majority the power to deny rights to minorities.

The state’s concern for marriage is strictly civil. Any two competent adults who wish to enter into a civil marriage should have the right to do so and should be treated by the state the same as any other married couple. What they do in their bedroom is completely irrelevant.

Richard Clark
Falling Waters, W.Va.

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