Same-sex partners merit same sanction other couples...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 22, 2001

Same-sex partners merit same sanction other couples receive

The letter "Partnership bill stamps approval on homosexuality," (March 13) claimed City Councilman Nick D'Adamo's domestic partnership bill, which includes a provision for a domestic partnership certificate, would put the government's "stamp of approval" on homosexuality.

Does that also mean that when the government issues a death certificate, it is putting its stamp of approval on death?

Government recognition is not government sanction. But government recognition is necessary for gay and lesbian couples to prove their relationships exist.

And proof they need, because these couples are denied hospital visitation and funeral attendance by people who would deny their relationships exist.

What exactly is the moral objection to one loving partner comforting the other in sickness or mourning the other's death?

K. Mick Smythwood II

Baltimore

A recent letter argued that Councilman Nick D'Adamo's domestic partnership bill would "put the government's stamp of approval on homosexuality."

Perhaps a less alarmist and more fair-minded approach would be to view the legislation as ensuring equal pay for equal work.

While the government puts its "stamp of approval" on even the most specious heterosexual unions, millions of people in committed same-sex relationships don't enjoy that privilege -- forcing many spouses to go without health insurance, death benefits, hospital visitation rights and more.

The encouraging thing is that more than 3,000 employers representing every area of commerce, academia and government have already extended domestic partnership benefits.

It is certainly time that Baltimore was added to that list.

David M. Baker

Baltimore

The writer is media coordinator for the Baltimore Activists Coalition.

School board's budget reflects unmet needs

In his letter "Baltimore County isn't cutting support for public schools," (March 11) Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger asserts that "a reduction in the [school] board's proposed budget for fiscal 2002 does not mean a cut in school funding."

Although this may be true, the requests in the board's proposed budget are what is necessary to give our kids a free and appropriate education, in compliance with federal and state laws.

When asked by the county executive to cut the budget by $20 million, the board and Superintendent Joseph Hairston sent a message to Mr. Ruppersberger: It's time we stop ignoring the needs of our children.

This also sends a strong message to the powers-that-be at the state level, who have ignored the funding needs of the public school system for more than a decade.

Kelli Nelson

Reisterstown

The writer serves on the Citizens' Advisory Committee for Special Education.

Parents should take blame for kids who can't read

I find it ironic that a group of parents in Baltimore County want to hold the school system accountable for their childrens failures on standardized tests ("Parents upset by disparities in test scores," March 14). Shouldn't it be the other way around?

This type of "it takes a village" thinking is preposterous.

Note to parents: If your children can't read and write, it's your fault. Quit blaming the system and spend some time with them.

Michael DeCicco

Severn

It's doesn't take a village to raise a child properly

It does not take a village to raise a child. I am tired of that old saying ("Access to books helps kids read and succeed," letters, March 15).

It takes two parents who are married and committed to each other and hold their marriage vows sacred; who are helpmates to one another; who have common sense and faith in God and who protect and nurture both the children and home.

Sandy Aldrich

Abingdon

Concession for soda vendors undermines schools' mission

I commend Michael Tabor for his column "Ban school vending machines" (Opinion Commentary, March 2) and join him in supporting the failed attempt by Sen. Paul Pinsky to limit commercial contracts and prohibit exclusive contracts between schools and soda companies, among others.

As a former educator, I understand the benefits of increased funds to under-resourced public schools, particularly in Baltimore.

However, as a student of public health, I see the exchange of funds for the right to distribute soda and advertising as a horrible compromise.

Schools expose young people to the vast array of choices available to them and have a responsibility to teach students how to think critically.

If a principal decides "Coke is it," I'm afraid that will leave our children with little more than images of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Ameena Batada

Baltimore

Bibelot's closing dims local literary scene

A local enterprise succumbs to the large, conglomerate bookstores ("Bibelot starts writing final chapter," March 16).

That's a loss to the community that supported, or tried to support, Bibelot's attempt at sponsoring local talent.

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