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Letters to the Editor - June 2

June 02, 2012

Why same-sex marriage is good for America


To the editor:

Recent discussion of same-sex marriage has forced us to confront the true meaning of marriage. As a Christian minister who married his husband in Massachusetts in 2004, I see the issue differently and I believe that same-gender marriage will be good for America. Let me explain why:

What is marriage really about? Some say marriage is about procreation or love. Really? Marriage is neither about children nor is it about emotions. It is about covenant, mutual respect and commitment. It does not depend on feelings or procreative abilities. Should we require fertility testing before marriage?  Certainly not. Is anyone happy every moment of marriage? That’s ridiculous.

Marriage is about two people committing their lives through good times and bad. It is not about feeling love but about deciding to love. As a person of faith, I promise to love my husband, even in those moments when I don’t feel loving or when neither of us are being very “lovable,” and in so doing, I strive to show God’s unconditional love and to mirror Christ.

The root of the problem with marriage is not the gender of the couple, but a self-centered culture that says that unless it is about me, I am not interested and when it stops making me feel good, I can discard it like it never really mattered to begin with.

Does this mean that churches will be forced to marry same-sex couples? No. It simply means that any couple can be civilly married at a courthouse while churches can refuse to marry according to their beliefs, just like Roman Catholic churches have done with divorced couples for decades. In short: The state makes it legal; the church makes it sacramental. How each church handles same-gender marriage is its decision.

Having marriage equality is not a threat to marriage. Not having it is. It is time we realize that marriage is not about babies, romantic love and personal happiness. Don’t misunderstand me: These are wonderful things. But they are not the “purposes” of marriage; they are the “blessings.” It is important to understand the difference. Marriage is about two persons committing themselves to each other in ways that mirror true unconditional love, mutual respect and support.  Only then, is marriage strengthened “as God intended it to be.”

The Rev. Rob Apgar-Taylor
Veritas United Church of Christ, Hagerstown




Let’s be honest when talking about proposed stadium


To the editor:

Perhaps a downtown stadium will prove to be a boon to the revitalization of Hagerstown, or maybe it will be the boondoggle of the decade. Whatever it is, could everyone please cut the propaganda and present the facts to both the public and our elected officials.

Let’s call it what it is, a baseball stadium, not a Multi-Use Sports and Events Center. Above all, be completely honest about the total cost of the proposed project and who will be paying for it.

In his May 23 column in The Herald-Mail, David Hanlin writes the mayor “has set a goal of holding 200 events at the MUSEC.” Hanlin also writes “the Suns would play approximately 70 home dates.” If one assumes the 70 Suns home games are included in those 200 events, then the mayor would need 130 additional events to meet his goal. Can we realistically count on more than a dozen or so additional events at a new stadium? How many non-Suns events are being held at Municipal Stadium and who receives the income from those events?

Admit it, the facility will be designed specifically for baseball and could not easily be converted for use as a football or soccer field as some have claimed. Between the end of baseball season and the beginning of football season — assuming the Suns would allow it — how do you get grass firmly attached to the baseball infield? Furthermore, all Washington County high schools have their own football, baseball and soccer fields, so why would any of them need to use a downtown stadium? Are any schools using Municipal Stadium? And if they do, who keeps the revenue from ticket sales? High schools depend on that income to support their athletic programs, so why would they play on someone else’s field and give that up?

Hanlin also wrote “no county tax revenue would be used.” Stating it kindly, that is a gross exaggeration. The county will be making a $400,000 annual payment that was previously a city obligation. And there is no 20-, 30- or 50-year payoff date for that obligation. It goes on until the end of life as we know it.

There is also the county’s loss of a building at 80 W. Baltimore St. that will need to be razed to make room for the stadium. Reimbursement for that building, in which the county has invested close to $1.5 million, is very hazy.

Jim Laird
Hagerstown

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