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Main Course of Marriage Is Genealogy, Not Romance

Jimmy Boegle needs to know that marriage hasn't always had as its purpose "sharing our lives together" or "uniting kindred spirits" or any of that romantic stuff ("It's Called Bigotry," Editor's Note, May 22). Not long ago at all, such talk was considered nonsensical crap. Parents of the two families got together to decide whether the two families were suitable and arranged a marriage between their children. What was considered paramount was that the resulting genealogy would be as exemplary as possible.

In other words, marriage was instituted to give legitimacy to the children who would result from the sexual union. Romance, of course, was welcome, like dessert after dinner. But it wouldn't be dinner without the main course.

Gay couples can't have children except by importing children from outside the sexual union. But importing children has never been considered establishing a genealogy, at least not a biological one.

Jimmy Boegle can deny this if he wants, or he can devise clever arguments to bypass this consideration, but this is how the human race has thought about marriage for thousands of years. And it is why, to most minds, homosexual marriage is considered an oxymoron. To call this bigotry is just plain ignorant.

William Winkelman


Suicide Is Oft-Discussed and Simply Another Way to Die

"The Stigma of Suicide" (May 29) is like all allegations of "stigma": rhetoric. Not empty rhetoric, but hurtful. And as for not talking about it, never in history has there been more talk. In the bluntest terms, it is simply a way of dying, not unlike many others.

The causes of suicide are as varied as the stars; the experts are not expert, and most discussion is personal, from people who were not prepared for the eventuality. Some of us send very clear messages, and sometimes, the messages register.

Research will disclose a long history of reporting on suicide. Journalism apparently has no history that it teaches to novices. A Google search of news shows 53,698 articles for suicide, and on the Internet, there are 101,000,000 mentions. That is a lot of talking.

To add to the anecdotal, I have tried three times and failed. Once I found considerable help, from colleagues and teachers--none from mental health. It has not learned all that much. But then, who has?

Harold A. Maio


Programs, Training Help People Prevent Suicide

I was glad to read Brian Park's article on suicide-prevention efforts in Tucson. As a clinician working with the 65-plus population, I agree with Donna Carender that many older adults and those closest to them believe depression is a normal part of aging and don't take any action. Other older adults may not even recognize their own depression, but present to doctors (who may or may not be trained in the signs and symptoms of depression) somatic complaints.

Casa de Esperanza is starting a free depression-screening clinic for adults 65-plus and in the near future will be offering training (in conjunction with the UA) to educate physicians on older adults and depression.

After overseeing for two years an elder-suicide-prevention program in the greater Green Valley area, I decided to become a field liaison for Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN USA). SPAN USA is a nationwide organization dedicated to preventing suicide through public education and awareness, community action and grassroots advocacy. SPAN USA has a Web site loaded with resources, calls to political action, survivor stories and more.

SPAN USA's goal is to have 435 field liaisons across the country--one in every congressional district. Raising one's awareness through attendance at ASIST or SafeTALK or becoming a SPAN USA field liaison can help answer the frustrating question, "What can I do?"

Sage Bergstrom, Clinical director, Casa de Esperanza


Support Bill to Ban the Transportation of Horses to Slaughter

Although I thought Catherine O'Sullivan's column speaking out against the horse-racing industry was great (May 29), and I like that she spoke up about how horses are now enduring despicable treatment during shipment to Mexico and Canada--and the subsequent god-awful slaughter they endure--it would have been pertinent to also mention a bill collecting dust in Congress called the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 311) that would end transportation to Mexico and Canada. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is an author of this bill.

As a horse owner, I would love to see this country get out of the horse-meat industry altogether, and put some major restrictions on the horse-racing industry. But the big question is what will happen to these thousands of horses when and if that bill passes?

Stacey Hines-Holdcraft


Clarification

A photo caption for "Money Missing" (Currents, May 29) said that 150,000 people live in poverty in the city of Tucson. That figure represents the estimated number of people living in poverty within the Tucson metropolitan area; an estimated 110,000 people live in poverty within the city limits.

We apologize for the confusion.

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