Readers weigh in on the Massachusetts gay marriage decision, Josh Benson's coverage of Howard Dean, and David Horowitz's defense of Restoration Weekend.

Published November 22, 2003 7:55PM (EST)

[Read David Horowitz's letter.]

Reading David Horowitz's response to Michelle Goldberg's account of his Restoration Weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by the sober tone and reasonable explanations -- until I got to the end. To say that withdrawal from Iraq would cause the "slaughter" of millions of Americans on their own soil shows a level of paranoia that Horowitz would typically reserve for the leftiest lefty.

Yes, ideas have consequences. This one had the consequence of making me laugh out loud.

-- Scott Estes

Horowitz accurately states that the left ardently wished to withdraw from Indochina -- then conveniently neglects to mention that it was not only the left, but the vast majority of Americans, across the political spectrum, who supported that withdrawal.

How many more years, and how many more lives, would Horowitz wish America to have spent, and to what end? How many millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians died as a result of our involvement in that unpopular war, and how many more would have died had we remained until the Communist threat was eradicated?

While confidently echoing the Bush administration's dire warnings of mushroom clouds over New York, Washington and San Francisco, Horowitz fails to explain how our actions in Iraq are going to prevent that from happening. Does the presence of 130,000 American soldiers, paid for by American taxpayers, really prevent that doomsday scenario? Or would those resources be better spent on internal security measures here at home?

As Mr. Horowitz concludes in his letter, ideas do indeed have consequences. Increasingly, I fear the consequences of the ideas coming from those who blindly support this president's militaristic policies and fail to heed the lessons of the past.

-- Steve Vaughan

[Read "Lining Up To Fight 'The Forces Of Evil'" by Tim Grieve.]

If the government truly wanted to "defend my marriage" it would hire us a maid and a cook and prevent another massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from ever working on my husband's computer. Preventing two men or two women from marrying each other does not affect my marriage.

If people are so concerned about the "holy bond of matrimony," then the government shouldn't recognize marriages as a legal institution anyway. Any two adults should have a right to a "civil union" with the rights, benefits and responsibilities currently granted by law to people who are married. And if two people want to have a religious ceremony in a church to become "married" that would be fine. It would be private and have no effect on secular life.

Otherwise, if the Massachusetts governor still wants to keep "3,000 years of recorded history" on his side, we need to also look into re-instituting polygamy, requiring men to marry the widows of their deceased brothers, making arranged marriages the norm, and making sure that any property a woman owns when she marries becomes the property of her husband -- and remains his, even should they divorce.

-- Kelly Henley

It amazes me that Bush remained silent for days after the tragic deaths of 16 servicemen last weekend in Iraq. It also amazed me that he has yet to attend a funeral service for those who have lost their lives in the Iraq war. But now I understand -- Bush has bigger issues to worry about, such as defending marriage from gays!

He wasted no time releasing a statement regarding his disapproval of the decision in Massachusetts, and his henchmen in Congress are already salivating at the idea of amending the U.S. Constitution to deny certain adult citizens their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This can't help making me wonder who's the bigger threat to this country: gays or Bush?

-- Michael Conway

To me, this just underscores the need for a Democratic nominee like Dean.

When the religious right launches the inevitable smear campaign, the Democrats are going to have to have someone a lot tougher than Dukakis. If we have a nominee who dodges the issue of same-sex marriage, it's a loser. But if we have someone who isn't afraid to denounce bigoted hate mongers when they appear, we should be able to take the fight to the Republicans, and make this issue about civil rights, which is what it is.

-- Andrew Norris

It boggles the mind that our senators will actually consider an amendment to the Constitution that proscribes marriage between homosexuals.

I don't know which is more disheartening -- that these people are so terrified by the private behavior of others, or that the citizenry is not concerned about the Constitution of the United States becoming a scribble pad for transient political struggles.

-- Christopher D. Coccio

If the religious right and the Republican Party push forward with a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the Democrats should respond with the "slippery slope" argument. That is, if the goal of such an amendment is to preserve families and protect the sanctity of marriage, isn't an amendment banning divorce next?

Come to think of it, banning divorce would go further toward accomplishing that goal and be even more in keeping with Christian teaching. After all, Jesus, never recorded as saying a word for or against homosexuality, is quoted in Scripture on the subject of marriage as stating "what God has brought together, let no man bring asunder."

Sounds to me like Jesus wanted us to outlaw civil divorce. Let's see how the people in the pews go for that.

-- Gary Belis

[Read "Dean, Sunny-side Up" by Josh Benson.]

What, pray tell, is the purpose of the pandering articles published on your site about Howard Dean? It would appear that you've hired on Josh Benson exclusively for the purpose of rephrasing Joe Trippi's press releases for Salon's readership.

These glowing articles that obsess on the momentum his candidate supposedly has are pure fluff.

Don't be dishonest. If Salon is going to endorse Howard Dean, just do it.

-- Eric Filson

Your boy Josh Benson is pretty fucking snide about Howard Dean. We readers would appreciate it if Benson would play it straight and not sound so jaded and world-weary, as in "Jesse Jackson meets He-Man."

Look, whether you agree with him or not, Dean has the most energy in the shell that is today called the Democratic Party. We don't need insider weariness and backhanded compliments from oh-so-hip journalists.

-- Andy Thompson

Although Gov. Dean's current message may be longer on specifics, his supporters have always heard his hopeful and inspiring message that "We can do better than this."

What reporters mistook for "anger" was more frustration. I know that until September, when I first heard the Gov. speak on his "Sleepless Summer Tour," I was extremely depressed that our elected "Democratic" representatives were voting with the president on actions that I thought were insane for this country. Finally, there was one voice out there articulating and defending my views of what was wrong with this country.

But the most important and gripping part of his message was simple and obvious: If we want change in this country, we must get active and involved, because together we have the power to take our country back.

That simple and enlightening message is what people take away from his rallies. It's like someone has finally thrown us a life preserver. I call that pretty powerful and positive.

Thank you for writing an objective article that drops all the desperate spin of the powers that be. Thank you for finally "getting it."

-- Lois McCarthy

By Salon Staff

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