Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Donning our white apparel...
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Donning our white apparel

Stephen Tuttle - December 13th, 2010
Donning our gay apparel
Traverse City has become the latest Michigan city to approve an
ordinance that prohibits discrimination against people based on their
sexual orientation. And just like in many of those other cities, a
group opposed to the ordinance is attempting to put the matter before
voters.
This is a national phenomenon in which anti-discrimination measures,
typically passed after contentious debate, are then challenged at the
ballot. The measures are usually upheld by voters after additional
contention and campaign ugliness.
Apparently, there are those who believe it should be acceptable to
discriminate against some people. They have their reasons.
Some say those protected by such an ordinance, the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender communities (GLBT), have “chosen their
lifestyle” and, therefore, are undeserving of anti-discrimination
protection.
Those who assume sexual orientation is nothing more than personal
choice should ask themselves why anyone would make a choice that
subjects them to intolerance, discrimination, sometimes violence and
does not provide them equal protection under the law, none of which
would be the case had they made a different choice.
In fact, there is no consensus on why anyone is gay, straight or
something in between. A growing body of researchers believe sexual
orientation is genetic, literally part of someone’s DNA at birth.
Others believe it is a combination of genetics and environment. No
one has yet discovered the absolutely definitive answer though the
research is starting to tilt strongly toward genetics.
There are others who oppose such anti-discrimination attempts because
they claim there is something called “the homosexual agenda” that will
destroy traditional marriage specifically, and society in general.
Unfortunately, those of us who are not gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgender have done a splendid job of wrecking traditional marriages
without any outside assistance. According to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, about half of all first marriages end in
divorce. The statistics get significantly worse for second and third
marriages.
The long list of the causes of divorce does not include a GLBT
conspiracy successfully plotting the overthrow of Mom and Dad.
There is still another group that bases their opposition on the
teachings of the Bible. True enough, there are specific proscriptions
against male homosexuality in the Old Testament and especially in
Leviticus. The prohibition is first spelled out (chapter 18, verse
22) and then repeated with an attached penalty of death (verse 20,
chapter 13). But it also calls for death for adultery or cursing your
mother and father.
Leviticus is sort of a primer on how to live and behave that’s part
medical and dietary guide, part worship guide (lots and lots of
sacrificing of livestock is required, and we don’t see much of that
these days), part criminal justice system. It’s plenty strict and
plenty harsh. Wearing linen and wool at the same time, for example,
is “abominable.” And everyone should read chapter 15’s directions on
personal cleanliness. Women will be especially startled.
It is instructive that those who point to Leviticus to legitimize
discrimination cavalierly ignore and are oddly silent about the
chapter’s many, many instructions and other prohibitions.
Clearly, all of us are entitled to our religious beliefs. Various
sects, denominations, religions and belief systems are entitled to
theirs. None of us is entitled to force those beliefs on anybody
else.
There are those who believe homosexuals, especially gay men, are
pedophiles. This is, of course, preposterous. Pedophilia, by
definition, is age-specific not gender-specific. To be sure there are
gay pedophiles but there is no one who is a pedophile because they are
gay.
And, finally, there are those opponents who believe these kinds of
state laws and local ordinances afford special rights to certain
people the rest of us do not enjoy. But laws and ordinances that
prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation protect all sexual
orientations, not just the GLBT communities.
But, you say, you’ve never heard of a straight person being
discriminated against because of their sexual orientation? Exactly.
What inevitably happens in these debates over anti-discrimination
efforts is opponents quickly run out of legitimate arguments,
especially for the most basic rights. Do we really think it’s all
right for someone to be denied a job or a place to live simply because
of their sexual orientation? Do we think it’s all right to summarily
fire someone for that reason?
There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that gay, lesbian,
bisexual or transgender people are any less caring, loving,
productive, protective, or patriotic members of society than anybody
else.
We, like many other places, have a long history of discriminatory
behavior toward people and groups who either aren’t sufficiently
similar to the rest of us to blend in or who are powerless, or both.
We also have a history of eventually correcting those mistakes though
it almost always takes longer than it should and at least once
required a civil war.
It has taken us a long time to start the process by which we can now
end discrimination against another segment of society. Hopefully, the
voters of Traverse City, and any other Michigan community with a
similar issue headed for the ballot, will understand we have nothing
to lose and much to gain by supporting anti-discrimination laws and
ordinances.
This time of year, as we’re donning now our gay apparel, it would be
nice if we had some political peace on earth and goodwill toward
men... and women in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
communities.

 
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