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Weak argument against gay marriage

I am writing in response to David Smith's July 1 letter written on behalf of the Illinois Family Institute. His letter claims the unique purpose of marriage "is to create the best environment for raising children" and that it is the responsibility of the government not to undermine it. How would recognizing the 44-year relationship between Edith Windsor and her partner for legal purposes undermine the ability of the U.S. to make sure children are best cared for? The short answer is it that it does not undermine it at all.

No legitimate academic study has found any differences between children raised in heterosexual households and children raised in homosexual ones. Massachusetts has had both same-sex marriage and the lowest divorce rate in the country for nearly a decade while Nevada with the highest divorce rate has a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage, so there is no evidence that same sex marriage erodes that best environment.

Why does the IFI insist that marriage is an institution designed for raising children? It is because they can no longer send in letters that say that gay people are deviants. The IFI is just grasping at straws to avoid acknowledging the inevitable realization that they are wrong.

Michael Penicnak

Wood Dale

Metra board has explaining to do

The Metra board, which includes former Arlington Heights Village President Arlene Mulder, quietly approved a severance package that could approach $750,000 for outgoing CEO Alex Clifford. The millions of people who have been fired during the recent economic recession could only dream of such leverage going out the door.

State Rep. Jack Franks said, "They ought to be locked up, the board. Keep them away from our money." But I think each board member should be allowed to publicly explain why he or she voted for a lavish severance package just after the highest ever fare increase. And while we have the board's attention maybe they can explain why Metra still has an abysmal safety record around rail crossings, low on-time performance, numerous delays and equipment failures. Then after a fair, democratic and transparent hearing we can fire and lock them up.

Keith A. Moens

Arlington Heights

Hawks a model for young athletes, parents

As a pediatrician and five-decade Daily Herald reader, I believe one of your all-time best editorials was this past Feb. 8, "A model reminder for youth sports." I had hoped you would have taken opportunities to re-emphasize that important message. You haven't, so I will.

Your editorial relayed that the Hoffman Estates Park District's ice programs chose to post a list of rules designed to discourage parents from criticizing refs and opposing players, including their own children. The list read as follows: "1) These are kids. 2) This is a game. 3) Parents should cheer for everyone. 4) The referees are human. 5) You and your children do not play for the Blackhawks." That last rule was designed to get a chuckle and put things in perspective. But it takes on greater significance in light of the this year's successful quest to win the Stanley Cup.

Your editorial appeared when the Blackhawks were about to break the record for consecutive games without losing in regulation. When asked the secret to their success during that run, the players would consistently say, "We just try to get better every game we play."

Child athletes (and their parents) may not be the Blackhawks, but they can certainly learn from them. Parents can loudly and enthusiastically cheer their children during the games. But more important than that, in those quiet times between games, and especially after the losses, simply encourage your children to continually get a little better at what they do.

Bruce Bedingfield, DO

Chairman, Continuing Medical Education Committee

Saint Alexius Medical Center

Hoffman Estates

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