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Saturday's Letters to the Editor

Energy deal

EDITOR: People who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada down to Oklahoma should remember that the same company has had a pipeline in use for more than a decade from Canada. And that the lower half of the pipeline from Oklahoma to Houston is being built.

In fact, a pipeline from the North Dakota oil fields down to Oklahoma could easily be built if the Keystone XL pipeline is denied by President Barack Obama. So 90 percent of this oil pipeline would be built.

Obama has an opportunity to do an energy deal with the Republicans in the House and Senate: approve the Keystone XL pipeline and other oil and gas incentives for substantially increasing renewable energy especially solar and decreasing the use of coal as an energy source.

This country will continue to be a big user of oil and gas for at least the next 20 years. But increasing renewable energy as a federal policy would be a big plus in cutting down the use of carbon and air pollution in this country.

ANDREW SMITH

Santa Rosa

Separating institutions

EDITOR: The current drama in the U.S. Supreme Court highlights the residual historical conflation of church and state and the subsequent confusion about gay marriage. Marriage, a Christian sacrament, like baptism and confirmation, was originally embedded in cultures with no separation of church and state. As we continue to separate the two institutions, we will need to create equivalents. In the case of marriage, we have begun to create civil unions. However, they remain poor substitutes as they don't confer all the protections of marriage.

The court could help clarify the issue by encouraging government to create a full equivalent civil union for those who want the legal protections, with a strictly sacramental marriage only obtainable via a church. Many churches would be willing to marry gay as well as heterosexual couples, but the civil rights and legal implications would no longer be the focus.


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