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How embarrassing for residents of Utah Senate District 18. Their state senator, Stuart C. Reid, apparently doesn't understand the government in which he participates ("Massacre of marriage endangers republic," Opinion, Dec. 23). He doesn't realize that federal judges aren't supposed to be subject to popular will; they are appointed — and not elected — specifically for that reason.

He also fails to grasp that in the United States, the role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the minority from the will of the majority. In protecting the right of gay people to marry whomever they choose, Judge Robert Shelby fulfilled his role exactly as the Constitution intended, even if the senator is too ignorant to know that.

In addition to being an embarrassment to the residents of District 18, in the future — when same-sex marriage is as noncontroversial as interracial marriage is today — Sen. Reid will no doubt also be an embarrassment to his descendants.

Nicholas Rupp

Salt Lake City

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