Letters from the week of September 4, 2003

Michael Bruce

Love! Valour! Compassion!: Wow! I was absolutely delighted to read the article that you wrote in the paper. It was so passionate and I could feel the emotion in each word. Thank you for putting this out there for others to read. If one person walks away from that article knowing more about the situation the GLBT community is trying to get across, then you have done a great thing. One by one our community and world will come together to understand and be tolerant and most of all equal in every way!

Justin Floyd
Via e-mail

Adding insult to injury: An alternative newspaper is a good addition to a large community where the truth is sometimes hard to find. There have been times when the light you shine on a subject is the only existing reality. New Times has actually had some great moments in journalism. Why you wanted to make a vicious personal attack out of a column defies comprehension. To open a column with an insult to our governor and continue with mean-spirited pap about the Gov and the attorney general is a waste of resources. You insult the smartest governor the state has ever had just because you didn't take your Midol. Nobody cares about her personal life, just what job she does as governor. Grow the hell up. I guess someone was a little "bitchy" when they wrote this drivel.

David Rader

Not-so-silent partners: Thank you! I have been in a "committed relationship" with my partner for more than seven years. We own a home together, and, while we do not choose to procreate or adopt, it really burns me that while she is in school I cannot add her to my health insurance. I, legally, cannot visit her in the hospital, make medical decisions, inherit our jointly owned property, or do a host of other things that married people take for granted (unless we take the time and money to draw up all the legal documentation needed to afford us the same "rights"). Are we really that scary?

Name withheld by request

Luck be a . . . lady?: Best of luck, guys. Courage like yours is always rewarded in the end. You're both great role models for the gay youth of today.

Nathan Weary

Following suit: When Tod Keltner and Don Standhardt filed their lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage, it seemed like a much-needed public push for equality had finally begun. With the positive advancements in queer rights recently achieved in Canada for same-sex unions and in the U.S. with the affirmation of privacy rights in the Texas sodomy case, attaining same-sex marriage equality in the U.S. seems to be within arms' reach. Filing such a lawsuit, one would think, was the practical next step.

Instead, however, the actions of these so-called "local poster boys for gay marriage" could potentially harm the movement for equal rights. Gay and lesbian civil rights organizations are not turning their backs on the two, as some have asserted. In fact, I would argue that the gay couple turned their backs on these organizations. Queer rights groups are making great strides in this state and nation; the LGBT community has never before been more connected to government leaders and elected officials who are our allies.

But with the rash decision to rush in and be the first gay couple to challenge the Arizona statute, Keltner and Standhardt have pitted our allies in government against us. They have forced people like Attorney General Terry Goddard to oppose us. By sidestepping the queer rights organizations, this couple has threatened the links our community has to our political allies and thus has threatened the continued advancement of equal rights for GLBT people. Additionally, by rushing into this lawsuit without the consultation of the organizations that pursue equality for the queer community on a daily basis, the couple may have failed to properly measure the political climate of the court system to attain a successful outcome. The three Court of Appeals justices ruling on the case, for example, include a Sunday-school teacher, an elder board member of a Bible church, and an advisory council member of the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

That being said, the finger-pointing needs to stop. The reality is that the Arizona Court of Appeals is going to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage. Whatever the decision, there will be a response and a likely appeal to the state Supreme Court. We all need to work together to ensure the courts do not set a precedent that is going to set the movement for equality back. Divisive bickering weakens our resolve. The queer rights groups need to realize that this case has the potential to substantially advance our rights, but could also have the opposite effect.

At the same time, the "poster boys" need to recognize the advantage of working with the groups that have the resources, information and necessary connections to help them achieve their goal. Right now, we need to rally behind the push for the right to marry.

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