Thank you for printing the letter by Lew Alessio (July 4). His is the most intelligent, common-sense view of gay rights that I have seen.

Although I sympathize with Margaret Roy in her defense of the religious basis for marriage (letter, June 28), I cannot support forcing her religious views on others.

Roy asks that gays who wish to marry choose another word in order not to “suffer the Christian God by the convolution of the term ‘marriage.'” Marriage has both a religious and a civil definition. The law that was signed by Gov. John Baldacci gives churches the right not to perform gay marriages. It gives churches such as the one I attend the right to do so. It does not give one particular religion the right to tell others what they can and cannot do.

If anyone needs to see the results of the uniting of church and state, just look at what is going on in Iran.

The lack of a legal option has created many financial hardships and emotional turmoil for gay couples. It is inexcusable that children adopted or born to a member of a gay couple cannot see their parents married; and that legal protections enjoyed by the majority are denied a minority.

I think of a woman for whom I will always have utmost respect. She stood in front of a crowd and told about her young, adult son coming to her, telling her he was gay and crying in her arms.

Nancy Willard, Woodstock

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