I live in Portland with my spouse, Kara. We married in Vermont this past February.

We decided to marry not because of the tax benefits and other rights that other married couples get — because we don’t get them — but because we have recognized what we’ve found in each other: someone who is worthy of being a loving, supportive companion-partner; someone we feel matched with intellectually, emotionally, purposefully; someone who had a shared set of values, goals, dreams, ambitions. In short, someone to love.

The time frame of when things will be different in Maine seemed too far removed from where we are in our lives. We saw no reason to wait for permission in Maine.

The U.S. Senate hearing on a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on July 20 was an incredible step toward ending the discriminatory law that prevents legally married same-sex couples from enjoying the same federal benefits as opposite sex couples.

Many personal stories were shared, painting a picture of the very real consequences of DOMA, both for couples living in states that recognize marriage equality and those that do not.

The ideas of equality and an end to discrimination are founding principles of our nation, and as the senators involved in the hearing so articulately conveyed, DOMA is simply a violation of these values.

It was very encouraging to see how attitudes have changed since DOMA’s passage 15 years ago, and I am optimistic about the future of equal rights in our country. The first step, however, is recognizing equality in marriage here in Maine.

Cathy Plourde

Portland

In 2004, we were legally married under Massachusetts state law. We moved here to the Rockland area, knowing the unfortunate reality that even the couples who live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Washington, D.C., and now New York are still denied federal marriage benefits regardless of their legally viable unions.

However, a boost of encouragement for those couples came from the July 20 Senate hearing about the proposed repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. The shift in feelings about marriage equality in our nation, made apparent by the remarks of senators and witnesses during the hearing, is a stride toward ending such discrimination.

It’s time to make the same kind of progress here in Maine and bring marriage equality to all families.

David Crowley and Kevin Jordan

Cushing

Former Portland resident likes Miller for mayor

Markos Miller is a leader. Out of a broad field of candidates, he is my first choice to be mayor of Portland.

As a member of the Charter Commission that drafted the limits of the position, I know it will take a special kind of collaborative and charismatic person to properly fill the position. This mayor must have a strong and clear vision of Portland’s potential, as well as the integrity and humility to seek the best input from all players.

Markos is that kind of leader: tenacious without being confrontational, a consensus-builder who nevertheless will not be bamboozled, sandbagged or stonewalled. He has a deft touch with people from all walks of life and a quiet and understated way of winning support.

Markos has served Portland quietly for a long time: as a teacher at Deering High; as chair of the Franklin Street Study Committee; as a leader in the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association. In those roles, he has known success with the State House, MDOT, school administrators and with City Hall.

At all times, he has been an advocate not for himself or for his pet concerns, but for a much broader and more comprehensive vision of a better city for everyone — businesses, students, property owners, residents of all stripes.

Over the last 10 years, Markos has shown the leadership Portland needs. I’ve seen it on the rugby pitch and I’ve witnessed it in the committee room. Please make him your first choice for mayor.

Jim Gooch

Former Portand resident

Meriden, Conn.

Best defense against abuse not all that complicated

In regard to the comments by Lois Reckitt of Family Crisis Services (“Victims added to toll from domestic abuse,” July 28):

She says, “I don’t think we have the right people in jail. We need to figure out who the most dangerous people are, the people who might be capable of killing another person. It’s not going to be the people who are in jail for smoking marijuana.”

That is so totally unrealistic. No one has a crystal ball to know this stuff, and often the lines are blurred between drug use and violence.

I do agree with her that there should be stricter bail codes and that friends and coworkers should call police if they notice anything out of the ordinary. As far as the entire community rising up and saying “no more,” don’t expect that to happen.

What about advising women who are under death threats to arm themselves? Maybe then when a guy is bashing down a door to get in, despite a protection order, she might have a chance to protect herself and her kids.

David Ryder

Portland

Dedicated tea drinker worried about effects

I drink a lot of tea, and have always done so. But now I’m starting to worry. Does it have a previously unrecognized damaging effects on the brain?

I’m hoping that, if so, those effects mostly happen when tea is drunk by people in groups — and it looks as if they are worse when the groups take their tea in D.C.

Peter Bakewell

Bath

Unlike Harry Truman, Obama blames others

 

I was embarrassed for President Obama when he used the bully pulpit to castigate members of Congress on prime time.

I suppose star-struck Obamaphiles were saying, “Right On,” while I was wondering how the president let the debt ceiling debacle get to this point.

I guess he figures when the stuff hits the fan he can always lay the blame on George Bush. Harry Truman, a courageous president, had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.”

Clearly, Obama is no Harry Truman.

Leonard Gehrke

Kittery