In the Doghouse

Dogs are people, too: Let's put aside the fact that the Weimaraner pictured with Jessica Florez looks like it would rather be having its nails extracted from its paw ("Vote For Me or I'll Shoot This Dog," Susy Buchanan, August 28).

Last time I checked, almost any firearm would stop a dog in its tracks.

Dogs are a responsibility. If you treat a dog as something other than a possession, respect it and let it become a member of your family, then most dogs would protect your family out of instinct. If you train them incorrectly or train them to be vicious, you contribute to the problem of dogs attacking people and dogs being abused.

As a reminder: Dogs need attention, and most people can't afford doggie day care such as Jessica Florez; hell, most of us can't afford child day care. Dogs require vet visits, room to run, walks, medical care, food and toys . . . you might as well adopt a child.

In other words, invest in a damned security system. They'll cost less, don't chew the furniture and don't care if you get one for completely selfish reasons and don't plan to spend time with them.

Amanda Blum

Homo Sapients

King for a day: As I read Michael Lacey's column on Terry Goddard and Janet Napolitano ("Grooms on the Cupcake," August 28), I was reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham jail:

"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Joey O'Donnell
Paradise Valley

Sins of the father: Your article on gay marriage raised my hackles to the point that I am going to risk a public response. The Arizona Republic wouldn't print the following letter, but perhaps you might, since you are challenging everyone and his dog to show some guts.

I do not think that gay marriage should be legal, because legal marriage is one of the only real weapons a woman can use to force a man to support his children whether he wants to or not. I can foresee other ghastly consequences. Since some women are married to bisexuals, gay marriage would give hope and encouragement and many more advantages to the gays who compete with wives for their husbands.

My father was a bisexual. I suspected he was having an affair with a male neighbor when I was 5 years old. My father later brought the man to work for him. The man became extremely angry at my father because he refused to take him on his weekend drinking parties with younger men. He made him stay home and do the chores. Partly as an act of revenge, I believe, the man molested me on three different occasions. I consider that my father's sexual orientation plus his drinking put me at grave risk.

My mother stayed with my father so he would support her five children. She thought he would not give her support money if she divorced him because he drank up so much money while she was with him. She didn't divorce him until we were grown.

Had she left him, and if my father had been able to marry a gay man, his new "wife" would have immediately been in contention for his assets. When my father died, his new wife could have inherited most of his money. As it was, when my father died, the children he had so grievously abused during his drinking years inherited his money. Another of his disgruntled ex-sexual partners had stalked and sexually harassed me from the ages of 10 to 13. I was crippled and disabled as a result of all that had happened to me during childhood. I was able to live for 12 years on the $100,000 I received from my father's estate before I had to go on welfare.  

So I think gays are off their trees to push gay marriage. I hope nobody listens to them, because their reasons are frivolous as far as I am concerned. Yes, some gays may wish to adopt and will not have the advantages heterosexuals enjoy, but a great many more women are wondering each month how they will feed their children because the father is not paying. You may trust gays, but I don't. I loved my father, but I didn't trust him.

You have thrown into your arguments a reminder of the grisly murder of the young gay man by three homophobic young men in Wyoming. What I have to say to you is that my 18-year-old son was raped and nearly murdered in a Utah city jail by a homosexual ex-convict years ago. My son had been picked up for drunken driving and was put into an open cell and left. He was tortured for five hours, forced to perform fellatio, and raped. The man's partner kept urging him to be careful not to kill him when it was necessary to choke him to make him do something. The cops came back and my son screamed to them what was happening. They left, and he expected his enraged attacker to kill him. But the cops finally decided to act on what they had heard, took him to the hospital, and discovered he had been raped. The choke marks were visible on his throat. The rapist was charged, and my son agreed to testify in a publicized trial. The offender was sentenced to five years in the Utah state prison.

I urged my son to write a play about this event, but he could not bring himself to do so for many years. Three years ago he finally wrote a play, Blue Baby, which covered the rape. The play ran for five weeks at the Metro Art Institute. Kyle Lawson, theater critic from the Arizona Republic, avoided seeing it altogether. He seemed to think that the review of a young relief Republic writer would suffice. His review was acceptable, but if Kyle Lawson did not see the play or support it, there would be no real recognition of its merit in the Arizona Republic. Kyle did not mention what the play was about in an advance publicity article, nor did the young reviewer mention that it covered the rape of a young man by a homosexual. Your theater critic, Robrt Pela, failed to see it.

In the fall of 2002, my son staged another production of Blue Baby, hoping that this time around he would get financial support to take the play to Los Angeles or New York. Kyle Lawson again did not see Blue Baby. Nor did Robrt Pela. As a result, my son closed the play after two weeks. He is still waiting for financial support to take it to Los Angeles, where he is hoping he will receive more interest from the press.

In the meantime, a prominent gay director here staged The Laramie Project about the murder of the young gay in Wyoming. Kyle Lawson gave his production ample publicity, reviewed it, and gave it end-of-the-year theater honors. Robrt Pela also lauded it as a very superior production.

My son went through grade school and high school here, and has attended every college in the Valley. He is an Arizonan through and through. So why has he been slighted by the critics instead of praised for the guts to write about what happened to him? Is it because he is straight? You stand for guts. So you need to know how the press in Arizona covered Blue Baby.

Geraldine King (Hitt)

Coupling: Homosexuality is abnormal, unnatural and definitely perverse ("Here Come the Grooms," Robrt L. Pela, August 21). To honor such perversity by allowing such "partners" to "marry" is sickening. But such is the way things are going nowadays. God have mercy on us!

Marc V. Ridenour
Via e-mail

Family values: First let me say that if I could take back my vote, I would. I cast my vote for Terry Goddard in hopes that he would help the GLBT community to obtain the same rights and equality as our heterosexual counterparts. From his recent actions concerning the suit of Don Standhardt and Tod Keltner, in their quest for a marriage license, he has tipped his hat and shown me his true intentions toward us. The fact that he would mention how safe family values are in his hands tells me that he has no respect for my family. While he speaks of equality and fair treatment, his actions show that it is only lip service. Perhaps all of the gay couples in Arizona should likewise file suit. I will be discussing it with my partner. I personally am tired of being told my partner and I of 11 years are not worthy of marriage. That we are somehow subhuman and beneath the majority and undeserving of the same protections as other families. As a gay man, I have put up with being belittled and denied fair treatment simply because of my sexual orientation. If it were a choice, I would be straight, but that is not possible.  

Therefore, I am telling you that I will no longer settle for sloppy seconds and scraps thrown from the political table. Partner registries and civil unions are just that. I am disappointed with Goddard's reaction and the reaction of those who work for him. This letter is harsh because I believed he would help, and once again I have been disappointed. So from this point forward, the members of the GLBT community should take their fate into their own hands and stop relying on people like Terry Goddard for help.

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.

Samuel T. Holdren

Straight eye for the queer guys: "To have and to hold: Tod Keltner and Don Standhardt want their walk down the aisle." This was the caption above the picture beside the article about gay marriage. I am a straight woman who doesn't really have an opinion of gay life one way or the other, but I firmly believe that gays have a right to their life. Whatever life they choose. It disgusts me that we not only pay for criminals to live, we have made it their constitutional right to marry and procreate while in prison. What kind of society allows that to happen, but will not allow upstanding, productive members of that society to marry, have children, and simply live in peace merely based on their sexual orientation? There are many other sexual orientations out there that aren't of popular opinion, but they are allowed to marry. Cross-dressers aren't all gay; they can marry. "Johns" are not only allowed to marry, they usually are married. Prostitutes, current or former, are allowed to marry. S&Mers are mainly straight; they can marry. Child molesters, although marked for life, are allowed to marry. I don't understand why we are punishing gays. Anyone? Enlighten me, please, because I don't see this policy of discrimination as a fundamental part of freedom. For that reason, I hope that Tod and Don win their case and have the biggest damn wedding this country has ever seen.

J. Arthur
Via e-mail


Signs of the times: It's gratifying to know that mayoral candidate Phil Gordon's "longtime passion" is "improving the quality of life in Phoenix neighborhoods" ("The Invisible Man," Robert Nelson, August 21).

My question would have to be, if that is true, would he please direct his campaign staff to stop installing hundreds of 18" x 24" political signs reading "Phil Gordon Mayor" on City of Phoenix property in violation of the City of Phoenix sign ordinance -- which exists to protect those same neighborhoods from visional clutter? Just wondering.

Thomas G. Schroer

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