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Letters to the Editor - April 19

April 18, 2013

Marriage should be defined by those involved

To the editor:

The April 1 letter “Governments have no right to redefine marriage” misconstrues several important concepts. Marriage is (clearly) both a religious and a civil right (ceremony and/or contract). And, the truth of the assertion that “it was instituted at creation by God” is dependent on whether one gives credence to the precepts of whatever the author’s personal religion happens to be (with which, I, a person with equal constitutional rights, happen not to subscribe to).

Civil marriage is essentially a governmentally endorsed contract, which gives the participants a number of obligations and benefits established in state and federal law. Religious marriage, by constitutional provision, is not defined in law and is whatever the particular religion happens to want it to be. For example, marriage defined by a number of traditional Christian sects differs quite considerably from analogous traditional ceremonies in some Native American groups (who were, in fact, here before my immigrant ancestors, who got here in the late 1600s).

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Governments and societies do redefine, for civil purposes, marriage as perceived by various religions, as evidenced by the fact that in most other Western societies, civil and religious marriage ceremonies are, by law, separate. Couples being joined always have to have a civil marriage; it’s up to the individual whether to also have a religious ceremony.

The letter writer’s religion’s evident perception that marriage should be limited to a contract between one man and one woman is fine for the followers of that religion. However, that religion’s particular religious precepts should have no bearing on the validity of other couples’ wishes to have a same-sex union and receive the legal benefits of a governmentally endorsed civil marriage. The United States is not, by my last reading of the Constitution, a theocracy (at least not yet).

Steve Specht
Brownsville

Children’s Village ‘toasts’ the community

To the editor:

Children’s Village of Washington County, Inc. thanks the community for generously supporting the 11th annual VIP Server Breakfast. Over 150 invited guests joined their VIP servers for breakfast to raise funds for child safety in Washington County.

Generous “tips” from breakfast patrons and sponsors generated over $11,000 to support the free life-safety education program Children’s Village provides each year to over 2,000 county youngsters from public, private and home schools.

Children’s Village thanks VIP Servers Ronnie Brezler, Tim Campbell, Jeff Cline, Steve Hummel, Mike Johnston, Mike Markoe, Mike Morrell, Sheriff Doug Mullendore, Brien Poffenberger, Jeff Proulx and Loretta Thornhill.

Special thanks to event sponsor, Susquehanna Bank, and table sponsors AFSCME Local 3373, Antietam Cable Television, Callas Contractors, Ellsworth Electric, Hagerstown Community College, Heidler Roofing, Keller-Stonebraker Insurance, Ladies Auxiliary (Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.), Smith Elliott Kearns & Co., Columbia Bank, United Bank and Washington County Public Schools.

Since Children’s Village opened in 1990, more than 50,000 students from public, private and home schools have come to its injury-prevention campus to learn safe living skills. Instructors, including professional firefighters and police officers, ensure students leave with the knowledge and skills training to help them be safe. They understand that making proper safety choices can save lives.

Our community is fortunate to have an innovative safety education program available to all county youngsters, free of charge. Children’s Village thanks everyone who supported the VIP Server breakfast and its many other partners committed to creating a safer community for all children.

Rochelle Morrell
Executive Director
Children’s Village of Washington County Inc.

Writer doubts that more gun control is the answer

To the editor:
The tragic loss of the life of innocent school children in Newtown, Conn., was horrifying to say the least.

Yet many politicians, including our president, used this incident to promote more gun control. I say we need to use common sense to address the issue of gun violence.

Unfortunately, emotions seems to overcome a common-sense approach. Gun control advocates are demanding that something needs to be done even if that something is not going to accomplish anything.

Statistics have already proven that these so-called “assault weapon” bans are ineffective.

A more common sense approach would be to federalize all gun crimes. Anyone committing a crime with a gun should face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. All licensed dealers should have access to a buyer’s medical records as they pertain to mental health issues. This would prevent someone who is mentally unstable from buying a gun.

And last but not least, we need to do a better job of enforcing the hundreds of laws already on the books.

However, some politicians seem to think that more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners is the answer.

Let’s work together to address those who break the laws. I don’t know if there is really anything we can do to stop someone who goes off the deep end and decides to take it out on innocent individuals. But I seriously doubt that more gun control is the answer because we’re talking about people who have no regard for the law.

Michael Karn
Hagerstown

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