Letters to the Editor - May 30, 2014
Truth on gay marriage
This problem with homosexual marriage is mind-boggling and overwhelming.
Isn’t marriage instituted by the church for the procreation of children? I don’t think there is anything in the Constitution about it. We are ruled by the law, and the majority of Oregonians voted for traditional marriage. Why did officials override this law?
No one is stopping people from living together, and laws allow possessions to be given to whomever one chooses, so where is the abuse?
A family is composed of a mother, father and children. Isn’t it a lie to classify homosexual marriage in the same light? Two men or two women are not able to naturally produce a child and, according to Darwin’s theory, a species that cannot reproduce will become extinct.
Isn’t this only an adopted lifestyle and a social fetish being used as a reason for marriage?
Think about it. It’s time to face the truth, live by it and voice it.
Mary A. Novak
Responsibility for VA costs
So who’s to blame for the Veterans Administration scandal? Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki, President Obama, the VA for keeping two waiting lists, or Congress for shorting the VA’s funds?
New York Times columnist David Brooks reported that, over the past three years, there has been a 50 percent increase in VA primary care visits, with only a 9 percent increase in primary care doctors. By requiring VA administrators to get waiting times below two weeks, Shinseki saddled his administrators with Mission Impossible.
Having to choose between faking wait lists or resigning in protest, is it surprising that administrators chose retaining their jobs?
Whether the waiting lists are reliable doesn’t affect whether vets get the care they need. That depends on the willingness of Congress to fund the predictable surge in demand arising from the rapid drawdown of troops. America’s two longest wars are coming to a close, transferring huge numbers of soldiers with broken bodies and busted brains in the field from the Department of Defense to the overwhelmed VA at home.
In a recent vote in the senate, Republicans sabotaged a vote to increase funding for VA health care by attaching a completely unrelated measure with increased sanctions on Iran. Republicans also cited an unwillingness to expand the budget.
Vets express enormous satisfaction with VA health care. The VA has consistently outperformed the non-VA private sector in quality of care and patient safety from cancer screening to diabetes treatment and inpatient care. Contrast that with the 200,000 yearly fatalities in the private systems.
Our responsibility is to pay the lingering costs of these long wars.
Could woo youth vote
While I would have preferred for Oregon’s gay marriage ban to be removed by a vote of the people, its elimination last week by a federal judge is a move in the right direction. It’s the right thing for our gay neighbors, it’s the right thing for a nation founded on equality of rights, and it’s the right thing for politics.
The group standing to gain the most political benefit from the legalization of gay marriage, I would maintain, is the Republican Party. While opposition to gay marriage helped bring out the base for a few elections, in the long run, it’s a losing position. In particular, it has been dragging down Republicans among young people, a demographic they sorely need to bolster. Taking the issue off the table allows Republicans to concentrate on issues where they might make headway with some young people.
Before they can rally the youth vote, Republicans also will have to revisit the immigration issue, where they are again at odds with younger voters. This may be a hard climb. An intransigent base on the right appears ready to fight tooth and nail to oppose any path to legalization for immigrants already in the country, even if those immigrants were brought here as children and have grown up as de facto Americans. Insisting such immigrants be shipped back south of the border is not only impractical; it insults the spirit of American history.
Putting up the white flag on gay marriage could be a starting point for Republicans to show they care about more than being the party of “No.” They have an opportunity to refocus and make headway with America’s youth. They should seize it.
Following legal precedent
David C. Koch’s letter (Readers’ Forum, May 23, “Voters’ decision should stand”) is riddled with mistakes and faulty presuppositions.
Federal judges are not elected; they are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. We live in a constitutional democracy, not a theocracy. If, per chance, a federal Muslim jurist were to issue an opinion based on Sharia law, it would be overturned by the federal District Court under which he sits, or failing that, by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Koch’s fear that “some judge (may) determine our Constitution to be unconstitutional” is misplaced.
One purpose of a constitution is to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. No matter how many people want to restrict my voice in the public square, my constitutional right to voice my opinion trumps their desire.
Ever since Chief Justice Marshall wrote for the majority of the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, it is the federal judiciary that determines the meaning and application of the law.
In overturning Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriages, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane was following a long-standing precedent and not his personal preference, and he rooted his decision firmly in the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. That’s what federal judges do.
Robert E. Mason