Letters to the Editor

  • Tuesday April 11, 2006
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Equal immigration rights needed

One would think that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) was supportive of the LGBT community particularly with her quarter page congratulations ad to the Bay Area Reporter on page 17 of March 30 edition. Surely this is a misrepresentation. Just looking at one federal issue where the senator could have an impact she shies away. Feinstein sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the same committee that has dust gathering on the bill known as the Uniting American Families Act, formerly known as the Permanent Partners Immigration Act. This act would allow an American to sponsor their same-sex foreign partner for immigration purposes. It would actually provide gay Americans with equal immigration rights to heterosexual Americans. At a time when immigration is being hotly debated, politicians are forgetting the gay Americans who have to leave this country and live in exile because the federal law does not recognize their relationship. 

Feinstein has not taken a position on this bill. Why, if she is such the supporter of LGBT issues, does she not come out in favor of this bill? The California Legislature on August 25, 2004 adopted Resolution 60 that supported this piece of legislation. Democrats such as Senator Barbara Boxer and Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee have come out in support, despite there being no political capital for them. These politicians are doing what they were elected to do, they are doing what's right for equality and our community.

An advertisement is one thing, action is another. One would ask Feinstein to start showing us that she supports our community by endorsing federal legislation that provides us with equality.

Belinda Ryan

Fremont, California

Wanted more history

The article "Berkeley's GMHC celebrates 30 years" [April 6] refers to those who remember GMHC's founding.

While I am not one who was involved with the Berkeley Free Clinic in 1976, I was involved with it from 1972-1975. As such, I would have wished that more information regarding the history of the Berkeley Community Health Project from its founding in 1969 to the founding of GMHC in 1976 had appeared in the article.

Robert V. Wood

San Francisco

Mistake in taking on old law

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had little leeway when it ruled that out-of-state gay and lesbian couples could not marry in the Bay State under a controversial 1913 state law ["Out of staters can't wed in Massachusetts, court rules," April 6]

The law says that no couple could obtain a marriage license in Massachusetts if their marriage would be "void" in their home state. It also says that a town or city clerk must "satisfy himself" that a couple from another state seeking a license in Massachusetts "is not prohibited" from marrying in the state where they reside.

Because the justices based their landmark 2003 ruling awarding in-state gay and lesbian couples full marriage rights exclusively in the Massachusetts Constitution, it's impossible for lawsuits to be filed in federal court under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution to force other states to recognize the Bay State's same-sex marriage license.

On the other hand, because the 1913 law was approved at a time when many states prohibited interracial marriage – and was clearly aimed at out-of-state interracial couples (even though Massachusetts itself never outlawed such unions) – I have insisted for the past two years and will continue to insist that the 1913 law is invalid under the landmark 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Loving v. Virginia) that declared state laws banning interracial marriages unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

Yet, incredibly, gay marriage advocates never contested the 1913 law on those grounds. That, in my opinion, was a serious mistake. No state can enforce a law whose intent the nation's highest court has declared unconstitutional. Even though Massachusetts wasn't a party in the Loving case, there can be no doubt about of the original intent of the 1913 law.

Under the Loving decision, the 1913 law is invalid and unenforceable. But I suspect that it will probably take an interracial gay or lesbian couple to finally challenge the law on those grounds.

Skeeter Sanders

Shelburne, Vermont

Comment clarified

I want clarify a quote attributed to me last week that misreads out of context, regarding the Bay Area Reporter breaking the Local 2 boycott, which read as if I thought the boycott was illogical ["Hotel choice for B.A.R. party draws criticism," April 6]. The statement was a response to the idea that having an event at a boycotted hotel helps Local 2 members by bringing money to their employer. That idea is a misunderstanding of labor strategy and economics and doesn't match common sense. A boycott denies income to employers, and is usually more sustainable for workers than a strike. It's a smart way to put pressure on employers, who in this case want to slash wages and health benefits and prevent a contract. Plus, in labor unions, workers get to vote, and the vote for the boycott was 97.3 percent in favor.

The reason the boycott matters? Fifty years ago, unions propelled manufacturing workers into the middle class, and it was one of the most prosperous times for everyone. Now, Local 2 is taking on a huge international industry to build a new middle class from the fastest growing segment of working people – that's really what they're doing. That's courageous and big thinking, and workers voted overwhelmingly for it – the least we can do is back them up.


Greg Shaw, President

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Fairmont workers respond

We are employees of the Fairmont Hotel and members of Unite HERE Local 2. We have been engaged in a long-running dispute with the Fairmont, struggling for healthcare, wages, pensions, the right of non-union hotel workers to choose a union free from intimidation by management, as well as several key civil rights issues.

In September 2004, 97.3 percent of us voted to authorize a strike or boycott. We were unwilling to accept the Fairmont's proposals, which included drastic cuts in healthcare. In an effort to starve us into accepting cuts in healthcare, the Fairmont "locked us out" – threw us on the street for 51 days.

We are very disappointed that the Bay Area Reporter would hold its 35th anniversary at the same hotel that is trying to hurt our community. Our union has stood with the LGBT community for nearly as long as the B.A.R. has been in circulation, and ask that the B.A.R. stand with us. It is disappointing that the B.A.R. would state that you would have moved if we had been on strike or locked out. You seem to think that you know what is better for us then we do. Please do the right thing and support us in the future.

Earl Streeter, Juan-Jaime Baisman, Kevin Douglas, Andres Cabrera, Tom Soo Hoo, Jore Farres, Mario Torroz, Julio Melendez, Peter Wu, Laurel Court, Rodolfo Alvarez, Juan Hernandez, Domingo Alberto, Concepcion Gomez, Tadios Maile, and Henry Cartagena.


Discrimination or prejudice against lesbians or gay men by heterosexuals is a dictionary definition of heterosexism. Its most obvious expression is found in the blatant hatred of homosexuals. A number of my women friends have said they could not get their husbands to see Brokeback Mountain. They did not want too see a movie about fags. Recently, 25,000 youngsters filled a San Francisco stadium where they heard conservative evangelical speakers rail against the supposed evils of homosexuality.

The Roman Catholic Church does not see homosexuality as a natural, normal part of life for some percentage of the people on the planet. Neither do all denominations except Unitarians and the United Church of Christ. The Episcopal Church still fudges when it comes to allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Now that the Diocese of California has three homosexual candidates for bishop, there is quite a fuss going on about how election of another homosexual bishop will rock the Anglican Communion. Some urge the diocese not to elect such a person.

While calling for care for the wholeness of the Anglican Communion, these forces, including The Living Church , a weekly church magazine out of Milwaukee, are guilty of heterosexism. These heterosexual people are not concerned for justice and equality for gays and lesbians. They say they are disturbed about the consequences for the Anglican Church at large. This is blatant discrimination under the guise of unity.

If church unity is more important than human justice for human beings, then the church should divide, regroup, and live out its true values of love, justice, and compassion.

Robert Warren Cromey

San Francisco

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