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Grisanti is redefining meaning of marriage

State Sen. Mark Grisanti insists that his vote for same-sex marriage was based on his belief that homosexuals should have the same rights that he has with his own wife. In so saying, Grisanti reveals a central failure to grasp the meaning of his vote. He did not vote to affirm the same rights for homosexuals as he has with his own wife. He voted for a new and different meaning of marriage.

The right to marry has always been enjoyed by both homosexuals and heterosexuals. It has always been understood as the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, and homosexuals have always been free to do so. Most freely choose not to do so.

What Grisanti has just voted for is a completely new right, a right that has never existed for most of the past 5,000 years of recorded history. Homosexuals have been given a legal right by New York State to marry persons of the same sex -- something that entails an essential redefinition of the meaning of marriage -- with all the social consequences that may entail.

Ignorance of so fundamental a distinction begs the question as to why appropriately extensive and balanced public legislative hearings were not held before this social revolution was enacted into permanent law in New York State.

Dennis Bonnette

Youngstown

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Time to stop saying, 'We love you, but '

The recent juxtaposition of two articles regarding gay marriage in New York State struck me as both tragic and incredibly insightful as to what lies behind all the debate on the issue.

Next to the article outlining President Obama's walking "a fine line on gay marriage" as he continues to refuse to endorse the right of New York's gay citizens to marry, we read "Six teens charged with hate-crime murder." In the brief piece, we are told the teenagers beat and stomped an "18-year-old male perceived to be gay."

Am I the only one who sees the connection? As long as we passively accept government, religion or any of society's structures setting aside some of our brothers and sisters as different, less than, not quite like us and therefore not deserving of the same human rights we enjoy, to that degree we share responsibility for some members of our community attacking other members of our community because they are perceived as different.

We are told this is a human rights issue, as surely as it was when we refused to allow African-Americans, or women voters or immigrant workers to be judged as different. Stop saying, "we love you, but " It's that but that creates the violence and it's that but that provides the excuse to refuse to do the moral thing.

Joan Malone

Tonawanda

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Layoffs aren't caused by stimulus funding

It never ceases to amaze me how the conservative point of view is rarely influenced by facts. A recent letter stated that teacher layoffs were a direct result of the federal stimulus package. Reasoning that using some of the stimulus funds to supplement school budgets has resulted in overspending is faulty at best. School districts were able to hold onto teachers as a result of stimulus funding. As were municipalities able to retain police and fire personnel.

Layoffs are occurring not because of stimulus funding, but rather due to a critical loss and lack of adequate revenues. Lest we forget, this country experienced a loss of 8 million jobs under the inept leadership of President George W. Bush and six years of a Republican-controlled Congress. We had two wars fought on credit and not paid for (the bill is now coming due), a Medicare drug program that went onto the national credit card and huge tax cuts. The stimulus bill consisted of $7 billion; more than 40 percent of that amount went to provide low- and middle-income tax cuts. When traveling the highways and roads in the Northeast, I've witnessed large-scale road work and construction. Most of these sites display signage giving credit to federal funding. To opine that the stimulus bill has caused hardship and layoffs is inaccurate and not supported by facts.

Tom Leyland

Buffalo

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New comp rules unfair to workers hurt on job

I'd like to respond to the June 22 News article on State Sen. George Maziarz's bill to change the new medical treatment guidelines for workers' compensation cases, which took effect last December.

The article said that the bill would exempt workers' comp cases predating Dec. 1, 2010, from the new guidelines. Being injured on the job myself, I agree with what Maziarz is trying to do, but I also agree with the Business Council of New York State that the guidelines should apply to every case.

The new guidelines should be thrown out because they take the care out of the patients' doctors' hands and let some pencil pusher in some insurance office who doesn't want to pay claims decide on the amount of care that is received. The insurance companies decide on the ability of the doctor in "showing progress" on the patients' injury. They give no consideration for pain management for chronic pain. It takes the help of surgeons and chiropractors to give patients some kind of quality of life and help them cope with pain. Back surgery is not a cure and sometimes not an option for back injuries. It's part of pain management.

If the insurance companies want to save money, go to the employer and promote proper safety and equipment maintenance on the job to prevent accidents before they happen. Don't take away the help injured workers need from their doctors.

James Salerno

Ransomville

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Graphic warnings needed at abortion clinics, too

The Food and Drug Administration has just released nine graphic pictures as warnings on all cigarette packages. If a picture speaks a thousand words, the irrefutable truth becomes an unabashed reality on each package. Research shows that warning labels are effective in getting smokers to quit, and these pictures will certainly have an impact. Smoking is responsible for nearly 450,000 deaths a year and millions of dollars in health care costs. The tobacco companies say the pictures are gross and offensive. Well, they can't be too good for business, but should we be offended by the truth?

I applaud the FDA for what it is doing but I can't help wondering if similar bold warnings were applied to abortion mills, with pictures of aborted babies on their buildings, would it be approved? Probably not. It's bad for business. There are 1.3 million abortions performed each year in the United States. People want to have choices and that's good. But when it comes to the reality of the unabashed truth, we have to be made completely aware of the consequences and accountability that comes with every choice we make. It's a matter of life and death.

Dawn Curazzato

Williamsville