Gays entitled to civil unions, not marriages

Marriage is a rite, not a right! The term "marriage" is an accepted label that has been in use for several thousand years. It has enabled a man and a women to enter into a historically accepted living relationship.

As a parent of a gay son, I fully understand the frustrations he felt and acknowledge the legitimacy of almost all of them. On the other hand, equal protection due him and all gays and lesbians really boils down to receiving the same or identical benefits accorded married couples.

Therefore, let them all agree to accept the label of "civil union," rather than the term "marriage." Then our Congress should enact laws giving them all of the legal benefits of marriage. Then their struggle for equality is over, ended and soon forgotten!

Robert D. Myhre

Alamo

News shows prejudice by its emphasis

When President Obama sidesteps, or more accurately, lays waste to the U.S. Constitution, and a federal appeals court rules that he, indeed, did violate the Constitution, your paper puts that in a skinny column buried on page 5. The deaths of a patient and the grisly and gruesome murders of seven babies at the hands of abortionist Kermit Gosnell are also buried on page 5.

Yet, when you were campaigning editorially for Obama's second term, saying, "He deserves a second term," that was smack-dab in the middle of the front page, when it more appropriately belonged in the opinion page.

Your liberal biases are troubling to me. There should be national outrage about all of these issues.

Joan S. Hamblin

Danville

Extent of victim's suffering not relevant point

I was appalled by the headline package of the Saratoga suicide case article on April 15, which read, "Some students insist photos weren't put on social media and that few had seen the images."

In a story of rape and humiliation that culminated in a 15-year-old girl's suicide, this statement inexcusably downplays the extent of the tragedy. Photos of the violence done to Audrie Pott were undoubtedly taken and shared among several people; it's beside the point whether those photos were shared on Facebook.

Relying on testimony of "some students" who are "frustrated" -- rather than focusing on the victim or the facts -- is reprehensible. The photos are a manifestation of rape culture, an eerie mirror of the Steubenville, Ohio, case.

It's not surprising that students are "unhappy about the student body seemingly accused of being complicit." In fact, we all are complicit in accepting a culture where "party rape" and sexual objectification are part of everyday life, where violence is committed against women and women are blamed, and where articles quibble over the extent of the victim's social humiliation.

Sruti Bharat

Pleasanton

Don't hide truth about animal cruelty

A bill pending in the legislature (AB 343) would require anyone who willfully videotapes or photographs animal cruelty on a farm to submit such material to law enforcement within 48 hours of the documentation.

This bill is supported by the California Cattlemen's Association. On the surface, the purported rationale of the bill is to protect farm animals, in that the farm manager could quickly act on the information. In reality, this is a smoke screen for its true purpose; to ensure Californians do not find out about cruelty to animals raised for food.

These "ag-gag" bills are sprouting up across the country, as the agriculture industry's response to ongoing documentation of mistreatment of animals on farms. Rather than devoting effort and energy to ensuring that farm animal cruelty is eradicated, the agriculture industry has decided it's easier to attempt to censor documentation of what happens to farm animals in California. Contact your Assemblymember and ask him to oppose AB 343.

Barry Kipperman, DVM

Dublin

Endangered Species Act is worth keeping

Our country enjoys diverse ecosystems of thriving plant and animal life, which require constant vigilance to protect in the face of rampant development and human overpopulation. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) passed in 1973 gets much of the credit for helping prevent extinction of some of our iconic wildlife, such as the California condor, least tern and southern sea otter. These and other threatened species have slowly increased their numbers because of the ESA and the dedication of environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity.

Last year I photographed California condors on the Big Sur coastline. Without our 40-year-old ESA, I might never have seen a condor in flight. Wouldn't it also be nice to photograph condors free of the numbers on their 9-foot wings and toxic lead in their blood? Unencumbered Condors may not appear in my lifetime, but that's something to hope for as we defend the ESA against political attacks coming mostly from "conservatives" who often care more about conserving their own wealth than nature's awesome creatures.

Larry H. Thompson

Livermore

The surrender on firearms bill was a new low

Shame on you! To the legislators without the courage to do the right thing, pandering to the moneyed interests of the NRA and the gun lobby. How much more blood on your hands, how many more innocent deaths will it take?

Claire Chow

San Ramon