Re Richard Goldstein's "It's the Symbolism, Stupid" and Alan Hirsch's "Separate Still Not Equal," [February 11-17]:

Both authors make excellent points in their articles about the emptiness of the arguments against gay marriage. However, there is a big problem that neither of them faces: the Bible, which forbids homosexuality.

One of the anti-gay verses, Leviticus 20:13, commands us to kill homosexual men. Nevertheless, there is not a single Jew or Christian, no matter how religious, who wants to obey this commandment, despite the fact that homosexuals were executed in Europe for centuries. Even fundamentalists are not as willing to heed Scripture as they used to be. Similarly, there is nobody who would like to bring back the Salem witch trials.

Whether we are religious or not, we have chosen to be selective about the commandments we obey. We should point out that once we have decided that it is immoral to kill homosexuals we might as well recognize that it is wrong to be anti-gay.

George Jochnowitz
East Village


I agree with Richard Goldstein's recent column "It's the Symbolism, Stupid." I believe his eventual point was that it's not the symbolism, stupid. It's not. It's the simple fact that the policy of "separate but equal" is not ever acceptable for any group of American citizens in any case. Period. Remember that during the 1960 election cycle, the presumptive Democratic nominee—a Senator John K. from Massachusetts—parsed the question of African American civil rights just as this John K. is doing with gay civil rights. What seemed an unsurmountable wedge issue at that time was a done deal just one election cycle later. Let's hope this John K. has the vision to take the lead on what is clearly a basic irrefutable constitutional issue rather than leaving that legacy to his successors.

Tony Blass
Encino, California


In response to the equality issues of gay marriage versus civil union or domestic partnership [Alan Hirsch, "Separate Still Not Equal," February 11-17], I offer a compromise: The federal and state governments eliminate marriage altogether. A similar institution of civil union should be recognized with all the previous benefits and drawbacks of a legal marriage and should be open to any two mutually consenting adults. This would continue to promote the traditional societal benefits of marriage without discrimination or inequality. Individuals and private, non-governmental institutions (such as churches, etc.) are left open to define "marriage" as they deem appropriate. They can exclude or include people in accordance with their prejudices and beliefs. All citizens are treated equally and the church and state are separate.

New York should be the first state to enact such legislation and only bestow the privileges of civil unions on other states' marriages if those states do the same in reverse for all New York civil unions.

Christopher Diamond
Kips Bay


Bravo on "Separate Still Not Equal." I have been trying to explain to people that gay marriage goes way beyond marriage. I worry that, if there is an amendment to the Constitution, what's next? This could open a whole floodgate of amendments. There is no acceptable explanation for denying a group of people a place in society that everyone else enjoys (especially one they pay taxes in!). The other thing that makes me angry is the idea of voting on this—how can you vote on human rights? What business do heterosexuals have in our marriage debate anyway?

Jonathan Lund
International Falls, Minnesota


Hirsch claims that some Democratic presidential candidates "don't see" the injustice of denying gays full marriage rights. I believe they see things all too well. I suspect some of them secretly sympathize with gay marriage, but wisely mask their true feelings with publicly palatable pronouncements.

Even Abraham Lincoln's timid campaign peeps on slavery were enough to earn him the label "black Republican," and his election further fanned the secessionist flames. If Lincoln had openly condemned slavery, he would not have been elected, and our country may well have self-destructed.

I hope Hirsch will consider that politicians don't always say what they think or think what they say. Sometimes that can be a good thing.

Michael Blasenstein
Washington, D.C.


Wayne Barrett's "Sleeping With the GOP" [February 4-10] is a great article, but I have to ask for a correction. The author states, "Just as Stone has a history of political skulduggery, Sharpton has a little-noticed history of Republican machinations inconsistent with his fiery rhetoric . . . [he] invited Ralph Nader to his headquarters on the eve of the 2000 vote." I understand that Democrats still have it out for Nader, but he's not a Republican operative.

Adam Dupont
Smithfield, Rhode Island


I read a whole bunch in Pazz & Jop [February 11-17] about OutKast and Andre 3000 but very little about Big Boi. How is that? Understand: Speakerboxxx is the Shaq of the two discs; holding the whole sound together. The Love Below is just the Kobe: fluttering around, scoring a whole bunch of points, looking pretty, and getting its name in the paper.

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