Casey should back marriage equality

President Obama and Vice President Biden deserve every accolade for their timely and courageous endorsement of marriage equality ("Once a hot-button item, now a matter of course," Sunday). Our country's top leaders have come to the same conclusion that a majority of Americans had already come to: fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families is a core American value. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), with his long history of support for other LGBT issues, has not yet taken a stance in favor of marriage equality, and he needs to.

Casey has much to gain, and very little to lose, by endorsing marriage equality. Twenty-three of his colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus have already endorsed the idea, and recent polling demonstrates majority support both in Pennsylvania and across the country for equal marriage rights. Such a symbolic gesture would go a long way in letting the LGBT community know that we have a friend in Washington who believes that we should be treated equally. Casey should simply say, "I do."

Adrian Shanker, president, Equality Pennsylvania, Harrisburg

Can't buy vote with one issue

I am a nongay independent who supports gays' right to be married, and will support a constitutional amendment for them to do so, if necessary. But I will not vote for or against a presidential candidate simply because of his stand on this issue alone. No presidential candidate can buy my vote simply by declaring his stand on a social issue, especially when the motive of such a declaration is so obvious.

May Van, West Chester,

Giving permission to discriminate

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote that President Obama's comments "in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. … The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better." What saddens me is the cardinal's position. In effect, he is telling Catholics they have permission to discriminate.

My parents taught me to treat others as you would have them treat you. Later, as a former president of the board of deacons of a large Presbyterian church, my wife and I tried to instill in our children the same standards. How can it be fair to deny roughly 30 million citizens access to the legal benefits granted by law to heterosexual married couples?

Tom Kent, Lafayette Hill

Before you criticize ...

The columns by Kevin Riordan ("For the rest of us, too, evolving can take time," Sunday) and Dick Polman on homosexuality reminded me of how I answered my students' questions about homosexuality. My response was simple: "When I understand heterosexuality, then I will criticize homosexuality."

Here are some other queries to ponder:

If God created everything, are not homosexuals also his creations and his children?

Do you believe in the concepts of "all men are created equal" and "with liberty and justice for all"? If so, then how should you treat homosexuals?

When was the last time you, as a heterosexual, were infringed upon or hurt by a homosexual?

What do you make of the rampant homosexuality in the animal and plant kingdoms?

Are you truly willing to let people be, until they hurt you?

Ed Dwyer, Laurel Springs

Religions don't make laws for all

It needs to be emphasized that when it comes to marriage equality, President Obama was talking about civil rights, not religious rights.

The various religions, of course, have the right to their own marriage laws. The issue before us is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples, as Americans, need to have the same legal protections that all Americans have. We have to separate church laws from civil law. Among the various religions in this country, marriage laws cover a wide spectrum in the matter of LGBT couples. (The same can be said in arguments about birth control and abortion.)

We are not a theocracy. Religions make their laws for their believers, not for the civil arena.

Patricia Freda, Bryn Mawr,