Updated: July 18, 2012 6:32AM
As a heterosexual Presbyterian pastor, I am encouraged by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s courageous statement that our state’s ban against gay marriage is unconstitutional. I’m not surprised some religious groups immediately spoke out against it. Religious groups have every right to impose their unique principles and practices on their own membership, but that right ends at their door. Members who disagree with their faith group can leave to find another place to worship God. Religious groups do not have the right to impose those principles and practices on the rest of society. Private faith should never be turned into a universal public obligation.
While legislators and the legal system must do all they can to protect individual religious rights, they must also work more diligently to protect and enforce equal rights for all citizens without regard of race, sexual preference, national origin or religious creed. No one is safe unless all are safe.
Finally, it seems to me no one should be against discrimination more strongly than those who believe their God created all persons equal.
Rev. Gerald Oosterveen, Tinley Park
Alvarez making a mistake
The Cook Country state’s attorney should recuse her office from the suit challenging the refusal of the county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Her responsibility is to defend the county in suits, not circumvent the law out of political correctness. Our state Legislature and the people have spoken on the issue of gay marriage. The state’s attorney is obliged to support that action. The Cook County Board should appoint a special counsel to litigate this matter.
John Culloton, Union Ridge
What’s wrong with our society?
After reading Friday’s Sun-Times, a great sadness permeated my whole being. Consider the news: small amounts of marijuana to be decriminalized, gay marriage is constitutional, the Illinois Cares RX plan is being eliminated, families with medically fragile children will have to pay more for their care, police will guard the president’s family at a wedding, with the city uncompensated. Then, let’s not forget the baseball player who signed a $30 million contract for the next nine years. What is wrong with our society?
Sheila McNulty, Portage Park
In 2009, commercial buildings in the United States were found to be responsible for 18.9 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption and 19 percent percent of our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. The commercial sector spent more than $176 billion on energy in 2009. These numbers demonstrate the tremendous opportunity in commercial buildings to reduce energy and emissions while also saving property owners and managers substantial expenses. Considering this, we believe Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recently announced Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative is right on target and, really, is just the starting point for saving money and energy from our buildings.
We would like to applaud the owners of the 14 Chicago buildings — including landmarks such as the Wrigley and Santa Fe buildings — who committed to reduce their energy use by 20 percent over the next five years. We encourage others to follow their example.
Energy efficiency initiatives like Retrofit Chicago promote being green in more ways than one. They not only benefit our environment by reducing energy use, but also benefit the local economy by saving on utility bills while creating jobs and generating economic activity to support the greening of buildings.
Chicago has the best building stock of any city in the world. By keeping our historic structures efficient and competitive, we can ensure their longevity while solidifying Chicago’s reputation as the nation’s leading “green” city.
Jay Wrobel, executive director,
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance