May 31, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Don’t discriminate based on sexuality or religion
As a heterosexual Cub Scout who never quite made it to a Boy Scout, I congratulate the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on its vote to allow gay boys to join this commendable organization [“Scouts’ vote on gays met with celebration, sadness,” page one, May 24].
As the proud father of a homosexual woman who recently married her female partner of over 20 years, I look forward to the BSA moving forward to allow responsible homosexual adults to become Scout leaders.
As an unapologetic and ethical atheist, I urge the BSA to allow nonbelievers into their ranks as well. As a private organization, the BSA can do as they please, but discrimination against secular people is just as unjustified as prejudice based on ethnicity, color, or other arbitrary characteristics. We are all human beings.
Stephen Kahn, Langley
May 28, 2013 at 7:39 AM
Allow gay leaders
At the young age of 12, I proudly earned my Eagle Scout medal [“Scouts’ vote on gays met with celebration, sadness,” page one, May 24]. Scouting taught me that even a skinny Asian kid from Moses Lake can reach the highest rank through hard work, public service and merit, and it inspired me to pursue a rewarding career in government and community service.When the Boy Scouts of America first approved its discriminatory policy banning gay Scouts, my first reaction was to return my Eagle Scout medal in protest. However, that would have broken the hearts of my parents, who lovingly supported my dream.
Instead, I challenged the Boy Scouts of America to reverse their policy, and I’m both pleasantly surprised and disappointed by their decision to allow gay Scouts.
While a clear 60 percent of voting members did the right thing to overturn the ban on gays, it’s strategically shortsighted to ban gay Scout leaders. Instead, they should be nurturing and building leadership from within.
It’s a bizarre message that you’re welcome as a young, gay Scout, but you’re not welcome when you become an adult.
Clarence Moriwaki, Bainbridge Island
May 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM
The two should not be separated
I truly believe Thanh Tan in her online blog is trying to be helpful [“Do not exploit gay rights issue to stop immigration reform,” seattletimes.com, May 22]. But this statement undermines her good intentions: “ … now is not the time for any special interest groups to exploit an emotional issue that risks killing the entire legislation.”
This plays into a false separation of the immigrant and gay-rights movements, and ignores the existence of people like me: gay immigrants who have a real stake in being included in immigration reform. I’m not a special-interest group, nor am I trying to exploit issues that the myopic Senate dinosaurs are too craven to factor into their political calculus.
The Seattle Times covered my story here. Characterizing same-sex couples’ inclusion in immigration reform as a special interest diminishes me and my family. To be dismissed by the Senate is one thing, but to read something like this — when we’re still reeling from what this means for our future — makes it worse.
This was a chance for the Gang of Eight to be bold, to not write discrimination into our laws and pass truly comprehensive reform. Now we must rely on Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to champion LGBT families in the coming weeks.
Otts Bolisay, Seattle
May 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Lift the ban
I became an Eagle Scout in 1976. The lessons I learned in scouting about leadership, citizenship and respect for others helped shaped who I am as an adult [“Boy Scout leaders to vote on lifting gay ban, seattletimes.com, May 22].It has been with great dismay that I have seen this contentious issue emerge in scouting. When my son asked me about joining, sadly I could not show genuine enthusiasm for the organization. Explicit policies banning gay scouts and leaders are discriminatory and not something I could endorse as a father, citizen or Eagle Scout.
I sincerely hope that the Boy Scouts will listen and learn from others’ voices. I hope they open their doors to our friends, family members and neighbors who are gay.
An overhaul of the membership policy so that openly gay boys and gay leaders could participate would reaffirm for me that respect for one another remains a core principle of scouting.
Richard Goss, Seattle
May 2, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Leave behind those who are unsupportive and move on
I live in Victoria now but I lived for years in Seattle. I legally married my same-sex sweetheart of 34 years 10 years ago in Vancouver, B. C.
I have this thought about florists, churches, businesses, etc., that say they support the person but not the lifestyle: Thank you! Now I know where I will not be spending my gay dollars [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
The issue with flowers or wedding cakes or whatever should not become an angry wedge to self-respecting gay people. We should take our money and our respect and go where we are wanted. Our wedding was one of the sweetest moments of our lives together. I would never want to spoil this beautiful moment by trying to patronize anyone who thought their way of life, their love for each other, or their religious beliefs were superior to ours. Nor would I waste our precious time fighting religious or social bigots.
Leave that church and shake the dust from your boots. To the gay couple, I say, go on and enjoy your wedding with those who want to support you. To the florist, I say, have a good life, without me.
Stephen Robards, Victoria, B.C.
April 30, 2013 at 7:37 AM
Legislation goes against majority opinion
Senate Bill 5927 is a blatant attempt by Republicans to circumvent the will of a majority of Washington state voters and pander to their right-wing base in an attempt to garner more extremist voters for the upcoming midterm elections [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
Having said that, Republicans have a damning track record of ramming through deleterious legislation with little concern for those they hurt in the process.
The proposed bill is asinine and insulting in the extreme and if passed will inflict untold damage on the reputation of the Washington and its people. It would be state-sanctioned discrimination, plain and simple.
I suspect SB 5927 will die this time around due to other pressing concerns, but Republican audacity knows no bounds. It will likely be resurrected next year. Should that happen, I trust more sane and compassionate legislators will do everything in their power to kill this affront to common decency before it sees any more daylight.
The undeniable trend is toward equality. There’s no turning back now.
Ronald Van de Kruvf, Everett
Bible makes no mention of same-sex marriage
It is impossible to quote “Jesus’ teachings” on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is apparently what the florist in Richland believes she is doing [“Awful bill re-legalizes anti-gay bias,” NWSunday, April 28].
I am a Christian who takes his faith very seriously, but anyone familiar with the biblical text can tell you that Jesus never addresses homosexuality at all, and the Bible itself never addresses same-sex marriage. One can find promulgations about homosexuality in the Law of Moses and the writings of the Apostle Paul, but not Jesus. I wish someone would mention this to other Christians, especially my fellow believer in Richland.
Corbin Lambeth, Seattle
April 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Leadership is behind the times
The boy scouts are being criticized once again for their exclusion of gays, but they have come up with a compromise [“Boy Scouts might accept gay youth, but not adults,” News, April 20]. They have stated that they will accept gay youth, but not adults who are gay.We look at the Boy Scouts as a great organization for children to get involved with, but with the youth growing up in a more liberal world, we don’t want them to hide things from us. We also want them to be accepted by everyone, including organizations they are a part of. Everyone should be able to achieve the same positions regardless of their sexual orientation.The Boy Scouts are living in the past with their exclusions of gays. I believe they need to move forward and lift the ban completely if they want to see an incline in membership and donations from organizations, potentially including gay-rights activist groups.
Their compromise can be considered a step in the right direction, but they will be living in the past until the ban is lifted.
Heather Zuchowski, Kenmore
April 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM
Marriage shouldn’t change eligibility to buy flowers
Barronelle Stutzman’s refusal to provide flowers to longtime gay customers for their wedding on the basis of her “relationship with Jesus” is somewhere between laughable and shocking [“How plan for a simple wedding is shaking up lives and the state,” NWFriday, April 19].Apparently, neither she nor Jesus minded when the gay couple bought flowers for a wide variety of occasions, including Valentine’s Day. Given the romantic nature of the day, the gay couple could well have been indulging in activities which Stutzman, based on her “relationship with Jesus,” might have disapproved of.
Yet, she was apparently happy to take their money. So, the question is, why would she think Jesus would approve of her taking money from a gay couple for a celebration in which they would engage in the same activities they would if they were married, but not approve of her taking their money in order to legitimize those same activities in a marital relationship?
One only hopes that it’s Stutzman who is the hypocrite, not Jesus, who, from everything I have read, seems to have been more liberal, compassionate and open-minded than Stutzman. Maybe the next time she talks to him, she can run this by him.
Laura Livingston, Bellingham
April 19, 2013 at 8:07 AM
Florist should not be required to apologize
The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) requirement that Barronelle Stutzman apologize or face a lawsuit for her refusal to sell flowers to a gay couple is precisely the wrong approach [“Case against florist fires up gay-marriage critics,” page one, April 18].
This dispute does not have to be about blame. It should be an opportunity for Washingtonians to wrestle with fundamental questions and hopefully arrive at the right result.
Two Constitutional rights are in conflict: The 14th Amendment right of a protected class to receive equal protection under the law — as reflected in Washington’s Law Against Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination in trade or commerce against a protected class — and the First Amendment right of an individual to freely exercise his or her religious beliefs.
Personally, I think Stutzman should sell flowers to all, irrespective of orientation. But she certainly need not apologize for her beliefs.
We all face the challenge of exercising our beliefs while accounting for their impact on others. But the ACLU’s approach of extorting an apology leads to the unnecessary polarization that The Seattle Times’ article well describes.
David Voyles, Seattle
Equal treatment means equal treatment
Joseph Backholm said that, because of her religious convictions, the florist “didn’t want to be involved in a same-sex marriage” and “People don’t want to pass some philosophical litmus test to participate in this society.” [“Case against florist fires up gay-marriage critics,” page one, April 18].
That logic allows gay people (like countless other minorities before them) to be served only if they pass the florist’s personal philosophical, religious or, I don’t know, icky-factor test. Equal treatment under the law means just that, not equal treatment only if a person likes the law.
Ron Anderson, Seattle
April 18, 2013 at 5:20 PM
The United States is running behind
New Zealand became the 13th nation today to approve marriage equality ["New Zealand lawmakers make gay marriage legal," page one, April 18]. Where is the United States with our “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” mantra? Not leading, that’s for sure.Currently 20 percent of states have passed marriage-quality laws and some of them by popular vote. Still, it seems the people screaming loudest about the government staying out of people’s lives are the ones behind the effort to ensure that government enshrines discrimination in Constitutional amendments if necessary.
Where is the leadership from companies like Boeing which remained silent during the vast corporate outpouring of support for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act?
To this day, even though the majority of its workforce resides in a state where gay marriage is legal, Boeing chooses to use a loophole in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to exclude its legally married gay and lesbian employees and their families from equal benefits?
Someday we may be as enlightened as New Zealand, which actually broke out into song in their Parliament after voting to approve marriage equality. Until then, they can have the pedestal we put ourselves on. We certainly don’t deserve to stand on it.
Randy Sampson, Seattle
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