For fairness and equality

Now that President Obama has endorsed marriage equality for all ("Obama backs same-sex marriage," Thursday), let's take a deep breath and look at some aspects of this issue as calmly as possible.

The institution of marriage has been reworked and redefined many times throughout history. No longer, in the West, does it exist solely for the privilege of the male. No longer is it the practice to use marriage solely to trade for dynastic power or territorial ambitions. No longer are children betrothed to each other. Marriage was not even a sacrament in the church until the Middle Ages. No longer does the woman cede all financial rights to her husband. And no longer is it an institution closed to partners of differing racial backgrounds. To claim that marriage has only been defined in one way is to be blind to social history.

Fairness and equality should be at the heart of the debate. My partner (of 29 years) will only inherit half of my pension, for example. Those whose marriage is recognized by the state would inherit 100 percent. Social Security benefits are closed to non-married partners. How is this fair?

James F. Davis, Gulph Mills

It's all about votes

With the pressure building to complete his "evolving," President Obama has been squeezed into declaring, "For me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." Leaving aside the overuse of the first person, it is telling that the relevant phrase is "it is important for me." Polling and constituency pressure forced Obama to declare what he may or may not feel. It's all about votes.

Stephen Hanover, Parker Ford

Rise up and speak out

Even Charles Darwin would be proud of President Obama's evolution process on gay marriage. One can understand his "closet"-like approach, ever vacillating in his mind as he tries to reconcile with his Christian tenets. Now he must fight for this right. No need to tiptoe around core beliefs. Rise up and loudly proclaim what you believe.

Larry A. Wernick, Fort Washington

Obama is a fraud

What a blatant fraud President Obama is. Everything he does is for the fringes of his constituency. First, the "greens," with the delay of the Keystone pipeline, and now the gay marriage issue. He seems to have evolved pretty quickly, yet has had the audacity to accuse Mitt Romney of flip-flopping on health care. Evolve means to develop gradually over time. This evolution took all of three days since Vice President Biden backed Obama into a corner.

Joe Pasquarello, Medford

Well done, Mr. President

Just as President Harry Truman ended racial discrimination in the U.S. armed forces, President Obama is setting an example to end gender discrimination in America by overturning the silly "Don't Ask — Don't Tell" policy and now by coming out not only for gay marriage, but for all gay rights in America. It takes real leadership and guts to counter the forces of prejudice and ignorance. Well done, Mr. President.

S. Reid Warren III, Elverson

True freedom of choice

Finally, the person I have supported from day one, President Obama, gave his approval on same-sex marriage. This should never have been an issue. What people do with their lives is their own business, as long as what they do does not inflict physical pain on others. Life is made easier when one is given true freedom of choice.

Gloria Gelman, Philadelphia