ISSUE | GAY MARRIAGE

Free at last

The Supreme Court has once again echoed the voice of the people by vindicating their inalienable right to make their own choice regarding same-sex marriage, irrespective of where they reside. Let the freedom of love and relationships ring louder and louder, and end discrimination not only in this country, but abroad.

|Atul M. Karnik, Woodside, N.Y., atulkarnik@verizon.net

ISSUE | BATTLE FLAG

Skirting the issue

Removing the battle flag of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia is like dismantling the electric chair rather than abolishing the death penalty. Instead of focusing on the real problem - which is the sad state of the mentally ill and the accessibility of firearms for anyone intent upon a crime - we are targeting a Civil War symbol whose meaning has long since passed into history.

The flag symbolized the 13 states claimed by the Confederacy. Most soldiers who fought and died for the Confederacy never owned a slave. Eliminating Lee's flag will do little to eliminate hatred or deny the lunatic fringe guns. Regardless, the Confederate flag symbolizes a time long forgotten and ancient values that are gone with the wind.

|Sideris Bastas, Philadelphia, sbastas224@yahoo.com

ISSUE | GROOMING

A choice, not trend

My best female friend has hairy armpits; in fact, no razor has touched her body in years ("The unshaven underarm: A trend worth overlooking," June 24). According to Inquirer fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington, this must be a trendy fashion statement - or feminist, socio-political communiqué. But how about viewing it as a personal choice rather than perpetuating the myth of the perfect female pit?

My friend who doesn't shave was born with a cleft palate and suffered unimaginable cruelty throughout her life because she didn't look right to other girls. This painful toughening has made her immune to armpit critiques. I would suggest that it's time to stop judging women's personal choices, in the name of fashion freedom.

|Kevin Downey, Downingtown, downeykevin33@yahoo.com

ISSUE | FIELD TRIPS

Real-world learning for youth-league athletes

Kudos to youth baseball coach Steve Bandura for his continuing wonderful work with players for the Taney Dragons and Anderson Monarchs ("Ex-Taney Dragons moved by visit to historic church," June 25). His trip with them to the South, to visit historic places of the civil rights movement, is another example of helping these young people understand their lives in the context of history.

As a former middle school teacher, I understand the power of experience for true learning. The students' march from the Art Museum to City Hall in early June to speak to Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey - organized by Jubilee School students - was another great experience.

|Susan R. MacBride, Philadelphia, mainerocks@aol.com

ISSUE | CLIMATE

Energy rule best response to pope's call

As a nurse at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, I'm grateful for Pope Francis' championing of the fight against climate change ("Praise, doubt on Francis' stand," June 18). Philadelphia received an F for its ozone levels, and I see firsthand the time lost at school and work for families with children suffering from asthma, not to mention the trauma of a child being unable to breathe.

Enacting the proposed federal Clean Power Plan is the best way to slash carbon pollution.

|Hannah Ryan, Philadelphia, hnr104@gmail.com

ISSUE | FOUNDING WOMEN

A bill that suffragists would pocket proudly

The history of women's contributions to American democracy has been largely left out of the national narrative. Appropriately, the redesign of the $10 bill by the Treasury Department embraces the theme of democracy, and in selecting a woman - to appear alongside a smaller image of Alexander Hamilton - women's contributions will begin to be formally recognized.

The $10 bill redesign symbolizes shared leadership among women and men - one of Vision 2020's goals in its Campaign for Equality. That decade-long national campaign, a Drexel University initiative extending to 2020, goes beyond symbolism to make substantive change in the lives of women and girls.

Vision 2020's goals of shared leadership, economic parity, historical inclusion, and increased civic engagement of women will help complete the agenda of courageous suffragists of a century ago and fulfill the promise of our democracy.

|Lynn H. Yeakel, founder and chair, Vision 2020, Drexel University, Philadelphia

Other mugs should go before Hamilton

As the creator of the monetary system, Alexander Hamilton and money are as inseparable as red, white, and blue on the flag ("Who should appear on the new $10 bill?" June 25). Eliminating him would be like separating Jefferson from the Declaration of Independence.

|Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com