[Read "The Army Be Thuggin' It," by Whitney Joiner.]
Your choice of headline for the story of Army recruitment of African-Americans: "The Army Be Thuggin' It." Of course if it's a story relating to African-Americans, there must be a clear reference to improper English, since that's how African-Americans speak. And let's not forget an image of an absurdly bejeweled character, to represent the way African-Americans dress. So congratulations: With your headline and the accompanying picture, you've embraced and reinforced stereotypes about the way African-Americans speak and dress. Actually that isn't true. What you've reinforced is the notion that whites, regardless of their political slant, will readily accept and reinforce bigotry, particularly with respect to black people. As a black man, I considered Salon.com a friendly voice. No more. You're no better than your more openly conservative counterparts. Damn both of you.
-- Thomas Williams
What I find amazing about the Army's overtures to lure African-Americans into its ranks is that its MTV-style events blatantly misrepresent what it is to be a soldier. Purchasers of alcohol and clothing can at least attempt to replicate the lifestyle portrayed in hip-hop-flavored marketing. But with all of this nonsense in Iraq, I don't imagine that new recruits will have much opportunity to kick it in a customized Hummer or shoot hoops with their buddies. Disguising what could be a life-and-death decision in the trappings of hip-hop culture is both condescending and deceitful.
-- Christian Gulliksen
[Read "Same-sex Family Values," by Laura McClure.]
I'm glad that even people who oppose "gay marriage," as I do, treat these two women decently. That's just the right thing to do, no matter what you believe. But no matter how nice everybody is to each other, it does not change the fact that something is wrong with this setup -- best illustrated by the use of the word "dad" to describe one of the women. A dad is by definition male, and there's a reason for that. A little girl needs a strong, loving male influence in her life (as does a little boy, of course), as well as a strong, loving female influence. To be sure, too few little girls have both of these today, but that's all the more reason to encourage traditional marriage. I've known several young women, friends and relatives, who grew up with no dad or a distant dad, and I've seen what this has done to their self-esteem. It's not pretty. To encourage openly a scenario where having a dad will never be possible -- or, alternately, having a mom will never be possible -- is just not a good idea.
-- Gina Dalfonzo
Since we started giving special privileges to married couples, marriage has ceased to be a primarily religious institution and is now a civil one. Now that marriage is a civil institution, there is no logical reason to deny the privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.
Oh, I know that some people just find the idea icky, but this is a nation of laws, so the fact that it freaks some people out is not a valid reason to deny same-sex couples marriage. There are, of course, the standard religious objections, but since the Constitution guarantees the separation between church and state, religious objections have all the weight of the ick factor, legally speaking. Then there are the hysterical objections that same-sex marriage will "weaken" marriage in general, even for us straights. Since no one has ever been able to explain to me exactly why my marriage would be weakened by the gays next door, I'm going to say that doesn't apply either.
Bottom line: Until such time as someone can supply a non-religious, non-ick argument based on constitutional law, this heterosexual, happily married mother of two sees no reason to ban same-sex marriage.
-- Robyn Anderson
Why this ridiculous obsession with gay marriage? Marriage is a religious institution and social contract created to ensure order and control between men and women. It is completely irrelevant to man-man or woman-woman sexual relationships. Love has nothing to do with marriage, as many people in the non-Western world who haven't been brainwashed by Hollywood romances will attest to. Two persons in love, whether hetero or homosexual, don't need marriage to sanctify or legitimize their love. They need marriage to engender rights and responsibilities.
Monogamous gay couples should be working for equal legal and financial rights concerning taxes, adoption, child custody, medical rights of visitation, inheritance, and the like. For God's sake, leave the loaded word "marriage" out of the discussion. It only incurs the ire of religious people who feel their deepest beliefs are being threatened. "Civil union" or "domestic partnership," sterile as they sound, will do just fine.
-- Sami Hussain
Thank you for including same-sex marriage in your marriage series, and thank you for including a bisexual perspective. Even in GLBT publications it is rare to have examples of bisexuals in committed same-sex relationships, so thank you for reminding everyone that it's not just gay men and lesbians who are discriminated against due to the current marriage laws. I wish Toby and Jean Adams all the best in raising their daughter and finding acceptance and community in Auburn.
-- Deborah Block-Schwenk