Piece of Mind: Is silence after high court's ruling a sign of evolving times?

Every so often we publish news stories or op-ed pieces that give us reason — based on previous experiences — to expect to receive letters to the editor the following week. When we don't hear a word after running something potentially controversial, it catches me by surprise.

This week, I'm taken aback by the dead silence that met the news we reported last Thursday about the two Supreme Court decisions that effectively restored the rights of same-sex couples to marry in our state and provided them with federal benefits previously denied by the Defense of Marriage Act. We ran the main story at the top of the front page, along with a sidebar article, which centered on interviews with local pastors who may or may not be offering services to gay and lesbian couples at their respective churches.

If you were living here five years ago, you might recall the countless letters we published in favor of California's Proposition 8, written by La Cañada Flintridge residents who were fervently against gay marriage. We also received and printed more than a few letters at the time from local writers opposing Proposition 8.

Given that it was a hot-button election issue that drew a whole lot of local comment in 2008, one might think at least one or two La Cañadans on either side of the issue would have taken a moment to say — for publication — “Yay!” or “Bad call!” to last week's news about the Supreme Court's rulings. But no, not a single letter on the subject of gay rights has arrived in our inbox.

Perhaps it's a case of heat-induced ennui, what with the triple-digits and unusually high humidity we endured in recent days. Maybe people have been left too weak to construct and send off missives that are longer than 140 characters.

Of course, it is quite possible that thinking has simply evolved on the subject during the interceding years. Recent national polls, after all, have shown that more than half of the American population now support gays entering into marriage contracts and receiving all the same rights married couples already enjoy.

Whatever the case for the local silence on the issue, I feel compelled to jump into the breach with my resounding endorsement of the high court's rulings in these cases. Five years ago this month, Gil and I hosted a backyard wedding reception at our La Cañada home for a gay couple who tied the knot during a brief window of opportunity that then existed. These wonderful men have been devoted to each other for years and we were delighted to celebrate their union with them. Their shared love, their caring attitudes and their respectful natures are at least equal to those we've witnessed in any of the married heterosexual couples we know, and stronger than found in many.

I'm hoping the dearth of local response to last week's Supreme Court rulings reflects acceptance of the truth that there simply cannot be a subclass of Americans that are not allowed to enjoy the same status and rights as everyone else.

CAROL CORMACI is the managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com

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