I must disagree with the opinion piece by Valerie A. Larabee ("Logic doesn't support ban on gay, lesbian marriage," July 27, Page G4) asking how others are hurt by legalizing gay marriage. I believe there are many societal changes that will take place if gay marriage is legalized. It will undermine our right to free speech and religion by making it the official government position that gay marriage is OK. It could be taught in school, and we as parents would have no right to object.

Gay groups have already brought lawsuits against religions that teach against gay marriage, calling it hate speech. Yanking of broadcasting licenses and termination of the tax-exempt status of traditional organizations that object to gay marriage are just a few of the legal threats looming. In Europe and Canada those things are already happening.

We can look for an assault on religion similar to the one gay groups and the ACLU have waged against the Boy Scouts, a group that dared to exercise their freedom to preach traditional values. While freedom of religion and speech are in the Constitution, recent judges have had to manufacture a right to marriage by gays. It seems tragic that one judge in Massachusetts and one swing-vote judge in California could change our societal norms and the will of the people regarding marriage.

The question was asked how gay marriage would hurt marriage in general. In European countries, in which gay marriage has been legalized, there has been a decrease in the rate of marriage in general. We know through many studies that an intact marriage between a man and a woman is the best place for children to be raised. There is less delinquency, truancy, underage pregnancy, along with higher rates of achievement in school — all factors that affect society in general and the cost to taxpayers.

Marriage has been a protected institution throughout recorded history to provide commitment and legal protection to a father and mother as they strive to raise children to be responsible citizens. It is important to our society to have those protections in place. Gays should have every civil right, which can all be obtained through other means. Marriage is not a social experiment. It should remain between a man and a woman.

Evelyn Scott lives in Draper.