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March 28, 2013

Letter: Still wrestling over issues of 'equality'

To the editor:

While the Supreme Court dithers considering the Constitutional issues of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) and California’s related Proposition 8, women are still fighting for their rights concerning who decides what happens to their bodies.

The 14th Amendment was adopted July 9, 1868. Yet, it’s 145 years later and we have yet to educate lawyers what “equal protection” means. No wonder the public fails to appreciate its meaning and value.

Since “equal protection” is so opaque, I offer this label; “Defense Of Our Rights.”

If a Legislature writes a proposed law that can be reversed to cause unjustified harm, it probably is wrong. If DOMA forbade heterosexual marriages, the outcry would be enormous; the laws would either be overturned or replaced and the members of the legislatures who voted for them would be out of office.

In the second case, if men were restrained from being able to control what happens to their bodies, the outcry would also be enormous. The laws would either be overturned or replaced and the members of the legislatures who voted for them would be out of office.

It is fruitless to speculate what dark, furry thoughts are running through the heads of Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia at this time. They are unable to distinguish between a legal fiction and a person. What hope do we have that they are able to understand that all people are due equal treatment by all laws?

Well-intentioned injustices do occur from time to time and should be remedied as soon as possible. It shouldn’t take nearly a century and a half to begin treating people decently and equitably.

ARTHUR THOMAS

Gloucester

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