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posted: 11/15/2012 4:40 AM

A denial of LGBT rights

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A denial of LGBT rights

In response to the Nov. 3 letter -- a Gallup poll estimating the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender population of the U.S. at 3.4 percent could be inaccurate.

How many LGBT people, married to someone of the opposite gender, are willing to tell an anonymous stranger that they are gay? How about LGBT youth raised in evangelical or fundamentalist Christian churches? Some closet doors are nailed shut.

Two evangelical Christian women wrote a book titled "Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?" They estimate that if all of the people who are gay or are related to someone who is gay could be counted in a particular church, they would constitute 25 percent of the congregation.

The writer of the previous letter does not differentiate between a religious marriage performed in a house of worship and a civil marriage performed, perhaps, at city hall. A religious marriage is religious recognition that two people have entered into a committed, marital relationship. It cannot grant two people the right to file jointly on their income tax returns. It does not give one partner hospital visitation rights or the right to make medical decisions for the other. It does not give both partners the legal right to make decisions regarding their children or to inherit. These legal rights are obtained only after a marriage certificate is signed; a marriage certificate can be signed at city hall without the benefit of a religious ceremony. Civil marriage and religious marriage do not serve the same purpose.

To deny LGBT persons the right to form committed relationships recognized by the states and the federal government, and to thereby protect their families and their children, is to deny equal rights to LGBT people. These aren't "special rights." They are the same rights that everybody else already enjoys.

Hal Temple

Glen Ellyn

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