Residents, former residents, support position

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2012

There have been several letters to the editor recently responding negatively to your editorial on marriage equality. This letter is in response to those letters.

Marriage is a civil license issued by state governments. According to the GAO, marriage conveys more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits. State benefits are also affected by marriage, including the right to visit a spouse in a hospital and the right to make medical decisions for the spouse when the spouse is unable to do so.

Under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, states cannot deny equal protection under the law to its citizens unless the law has a rational basis. In Perry v. Brown, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals examined the reasons why gay couples might be disfavored under marriage laws but found no rational basis for the discrimination. Two justifications were offered for denying gays the right to marry. The first was the states’ interest in procreation, that marriage should be reserved to couples capable of having children. This justification failed as states issue marriage licenses to straight couples unable to bear children or who do not intend to have children. The second justification, that children are best raised in a family with 2 parents of opposite sexes, also was found lacking in merit. Empirical data does not support this proposition as children raised by two moms or two dads do just as well as children raised by a mom and a dad.

All of the critics of your editorial have based their positions on the Bible. Christianity is not our state religion and the tenets of the various Christian sects should not be used as a litmus test for our public policy.

With that said, Christians themselves are in disagreement as to how the Bible should be interpreted and even who wrote it. Fundamentalist Christian sects do not comprise the entire universe of Christianity. There are a number of Christian denominations that approve of same sex marriage and have rituals for gay marriages and civil unions. Everyone is free to have their own religious views, but they do not have the right to impose those views on our society through enactment of discriminatory laws, even if they are a majority of the population.

A common theme in the letters was that there are immutable, absolute laws. In history, this rigid belief system led us down the path of intolerance and tyranny. Enlightenment from human experience has led us to understand that rules that were once considered normative may over time no longer serve our social and cultural needs. If laws could never change, women would be the chattel property of men, and marriages between the races would be outlawed.

The letters also made a false analogy. They contend if gays are allowed to marry, people will be allowed to marry animals. This is like saying that if we allow people to eat steak, then cannibalism is allowed. This thinking disregards the limiting principle of facts. When deciding on a rule that will be determinative of a particular issue, facts and social interests specific to that issue should shape the outcome, not some general rule divorced from reality.

The undersigned, current and former residents of Covington County, applaud your courage in bringing this controversial subject to the editorial page of your newspaper. Hopefully it will begin a dialogue that brings understanding as to why the benefits of marriage should be granted equally to gays and straights.

Teresa B. Tolbert

37279 Lloyd Mill Road

Red Level, AL 36474


Decie Odom

815 Rosalie st

Opp AL 36467


Hazel M.Lee

1419 Third Street

Florala, AL 36442


Julie S. Glick

19865 County Road 70

Andalusia, AL 36421


Anita Yancey

409 West Street

Opp, AL 36467



Sharon Peavy Williamson

2110 Hwy 84 West

Opp, Alabama


Ava Williamson

900 B West Covington Ave

Opp AL, 36467


Thresa Yancey Barger

409 West Street

Opp, AL 36467


Rachel Pridgen

701 Brookside Drive

Opp, AL 36467



Lee Dean Kervin

33394 Pigeon Creek RD,

Red Level, AL 36474




Sonya A. Walker

18025 Fred Carter Road

Andalusia Al. 36420


Whitney Ballard

16327 Woodland Est. Rd.

Andalusia, AL 36421


Tina Ballard

16327 Woodland Estates Rd.

Andalusia, AL 36421


Jeff Lambert

607 Sanford Rd.

Andalusia, AL 36420


Jovanna Stanley

25955 CR 70

Andalusia, AL 36421


Timmy Centner

Andalusia, AL


Glen Padgett

25985 US 29

Andalusia, AL 36420


Kira Yancey

815 Rosalie Avenue,

Opp AL, 36467


Shelby Brashaw

403 Fourth Avenue

Andalusia, Alabama 36420


Byron B. Mathews, Jr.

410 West 24th Street, #2H

New York City, NY 10011


Hank Lambert (Class of 1980, Andalusia High School)

6626 N San Gabriel Blvd

San Gabriel, CA 91775


Jane Lambert (Class of 1981, Andalusia High School)

6626 N San Gabriel Blvd

San Gabriel, CA 91775



Jim Yeaman 1414 South Hull St.

Montgomery, AL


Judd Wiggins

636 Ridge Top Circle

Birmingham, AL 35206



Linn Rigoli Harper

Portland, Oregon


Linetta McCune

3220 Horseshoe Trail

Tallahassee, FL 32303


Michele Reedy Jones

15 Whitman St.

Montgomery, AL 36104



Channing Brashaw

1600 14 Ave S.

Birmingham, AL 35205


Elaine Prestwood Carmack,.

179 Patton Dr.,

Cheshire, CT 06410


Marianne Merrill Moates Weber

Prattville, AL


Leigh Guin

4757 CR 89

Fayette, AL 35555


Kimberly Darling Rankin

DC Suburbs (but deeply rooted in Andalusia)


Bill & Gatra Reid Mallard

Atlanta, GA


Kathryn J. Irby

Gulfport, MS 39507



Roger Walker

658 Cumberland Circle, NE

Atlanta, GA 30306


Jessica Tyler

8106 Seminary Ridge Dr

Austin, TX 78745


Allison Phillips

5824 Southhall Road

Birmingham, AL 35213


Angela Phillips

1630B Valley Ave

Birmingham AL 35209


Amanda Pellegrino

2403 Westberry Court

Statesboro, GA 30458



Kathy McMullen

255 Whetstone Road

Birmingham, AL 35243


Laun Brashaw

403 4th Avenue

Andalusia, AL 36420