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November 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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Referendum 74's potential impact on children and schools

Procreation argument is irrelevant

Do Tom Matthews, Bob Kelly and Pia de Solenni oppose male/female couples marrying if they are beyond childbearing age, or if they don't plan to have children? [“We are Catholics who oppose Ref. 74 to legalize same-sex marriage,” Opinion, Nov. 1].

It seems they believe marriage should be only for couples who plan to or are able to procreate. Seems like there are a lot more people who shouldn't be allowed to marry, if this is the real reason they are espousing for opposing Ref. 74.

I know of couples on their second or third marriage, way past their childbearing years, while some of the finest people I know and love only want to have the chance to marry once. And some of them have children who love and need them,and whose parents deserve to have the same rights as other families.

— Patricia Slepski, Renton

Not restrictive of religious freedom

The authors of “We are Catholics who oppose Ref. 74” believe that gay marriage is “simply not the same thing as marriage because by its very nature it cannot produce children.”

Really? Lots of gay and lesbian couples are producing children via sperm donors or surrogate mothers.

Arguing that forcing Catholics to accept gay marriage affects their First Amendment rights is simply ludicrous. If Catholics for Traditional Marriage understood the First Amendment, they would understand that it’s about freedom of religion and freedom from religion. That means they’re entitled to their Catholic values, but they’re not entitled to force others — like the Washington state legislators who passed gay marriage into law — to abide by them.

Finally, stating that Catholic organizations in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., “can no longer provide charitable adoption services based on the new legal definition of marriage” is simply dishonest. Catholic organizations chose to stop providing adoption services in those states because they were no longer permitted to discriminate against gays and lesbians who wanted to adopt.

Passing Referendum 74 will in no way restrict the religious freedom of Catholics or people of any other faith.

— Robb Miller, Seattle

Laws shape culture

It is wishful thinking and perhaps even disingenuous to assume the legalization of gay marriage will not ultimately impact school curricula, and for that matter, First Amendment freedoms [“Anti-Ref-74 ad shameless,” Editorials, Nov. 1].

Gay marriage may not directly affect traditional marriage in the present but it will surely impact future generations. Laws do shape culture, for good or for bad.

— Steven K. Thomas, Renton

Love and family show up in different ways

Having been a teacher and a principal for over half a lifetime, I can assure you from my experience that teaching children about gay marriage and homosexuality in class was not done. Period.

This is not a conversation for school but rather for home and parents. Gay families are in our schools, volunteering on field trips and in the classroom. They are the only lesson necessary to show children that other forms of loving families exist.

Gay families are not a threat, just as single-parent families and children raised by grandparents are not a threat. On the contrary, gay families remind us that love and family show up in different ways. There is nothing scary about this.

— Mary C. Dispenza, Bellevue

No need for redefinition of marriage

Same-sex couples already enjoy all the same rights and benefits as married couples in Washington under the domestic partnerships, “Everything but Marriage” law from 2009.

Why do we need to redefine the term marriage that has meant the same for people — a father, a man and a mother, a woman — for hundreds of years beyond nation, culture and religion. Would anyone take a “meatloaf” and say, this is now “zucchini bread?”

– Friederike Buczyk, North Bend

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