Rep. Bartlett's HomophobiaRecently I received a letter...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 08, 1994

Rep. Bartlett's Homophobia

Recently I received a letter from our congressman, Roscoe Bartlett (R-6th). It was in regard to an interview that the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, had with the magazine, the Advocate. I am very concerned with Mr. Bartlett's comments in a letter to me on Dr. Elders' views of homosexuality. What he labels "appalling," I consider a matter of fairness, education and even of simple logic.

From Dr. Elders' statements, it seems clear the most important action we can take is to educate people. Whether you agree or disagree with any particular point she makes, it is obvious she wants us to know and understand more than just the homophobic views of Mr. Bartlett.

I find it extremely alarming when he indicates he is against discussing the health issues of this group. But his comments indicate that he holds the homosexual community responsible for the AIDS crisis, so discussing health issues is probably not a priority with him. So is placing blame the priority?

He also displays the ignorant view that gays choose to be gay when he says that Dr. Elders believes homosexuality is an "alternative" to heterosexuality. Finally, there is no "pro-homosexual orientation" in the Clinton administration, as he asserts; there is respect, acceptance of cultural diversity and compassion.

But then, most of us are aware that Mr. Bartlett is not overly sensitive to racial and cultural issues. Remember his statement last year on Asian-American students receiving scholarships who did not have "normal names"?

I find it very disappointing, indeed disturbing, that Mr. Bartlett has chosen to use his official elected position to spread his "social agenda" of discrimination against those who are different than he. I have two sons, and it can be very difficult raising them to be tolerant and sympathetic in a country where some government leaders are more than willing to discriminate against fellow citizens.

No matter what he believes, the homosexual community is a part of American culture and persecuting them will not make them go away. And they, like any other group of Americans, have the right to full and equal justice under the Constitution, which Mr. Bartlett has sworn to uphold. Discrimination in any form is unjust and unacceptable.

I do not care if Mr. Bartlett likes or dislikes homosexuality, but I do care if he tries to spread his views of intolerance and prejudice against gays and lesbians and whatever other group he may not like. The government needs to advocate fairness, justice and compassion. If the honorable Mr. Bartlett believes that his position on this issue will help our country come closer together and solve our social problems, then he is sadly mistaken.

Lest we forget, the Jews in Nazi Germany wore yellow Stars of David; the homosexuals wore pink triangles.

Ryan Simmons

Ellicott City

How to Stop School Crowding

I am a parent of two school-age children. I have been a resident of Carroll County for the last 8 1/2 years. During that time, I have witnessed various attempts to deal with the problem of overcrowded schools.

I submit to you, however, that such attempts are not necessary. There has existed at least since the time I have lived here a statute which provides that the zoning office should deny preliminary or final approval of developments where school facilities, among others, are inadequate. The law states that the agencies of the county government must certify as to the adequacies of their respective facilities.

Why haven't school officials complied with this law?

According to its own records, as reported in The Sun for Carroll County, the following schools are overcrowded: Westminster High, South Carroll High, Friendship Valley Elementary (which opened two years ago), Freedom Elementary and Robert Moton Elementary.

It is clear no further building should be allowed in any school district currently overcrowded. Yet do school officials respond as required by the statute? No. And as school board members, the apparent collective response is . . . to react to the overcrowding crisis by allowing school officials to deny out-of-district requests by parents.

. . . It is grossly unfair, and possibly illegal, to continue to say "yes" to developers and "no" to parents.

E9 Why isn't the Adequate Facilities law being enforced?

John W. Holmes

Westminster

The above is a copy of a letter sent to members of the Carroll County Board of Education.

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