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Letter to the editor: Marriages: is history best barometer?

Gerald Scherbel ("Gay marriage could lead to slippery slope", April 17) claims the only legitimate marriages are those which produce children the "natural" way. Who knew there was a fertility requirement for marriage in Minnesota? I guess adoptive parents have marriages which are less than "ideal" and, as a 62-year-old widow no longer capable of bearing children, I'll need to forget my plans to remarry!

As for changing "10,000 years of historical fact," it seems in Mr. Scherbel's world women are still chattel without any rights, a man can sell his 12-year-old daughter into marriage to whichever middle-aged suitor offers him the most money, and that suitor can marry as many young girls as he can afford. Marriage has, of course, changed, from an exchange of property to an equal, loving partnership between two consenting adults, and the natural law to which Mr. Scherbel alludes has been used to justify all manner of heinous practices including slavery, racial segregation and the subjugation of women. Many people were certain the "activist judges" who decided Loving v. Virginia in 1967 were violating natural law as they saw it.

Mr. Scherbel claims he does not care what consenting adults do in private; aside from the fact that marriage involves a whole lot more than just sex, I suspect Mr. Scherbel does find homosexuality distasteful, that he is using natural law to justify his personal discomfort. Denying equal rights to fellow Americans because you find them "icky" is nothing less than bigotry; bigotry is as bigotry does, even if you believe yourself to be free of prejudice. 

Let's do the right thing, Minnesota; there is a "natural law" which justifies legalizing same sex marriage, the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Joyce Denn - Woodbury