Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

April 30, 2005

It's fair to make employers pay for health care

Our company is among the dozens which came out in support of the Fair Share Health Care legislation. And we agree completely with the statement in The Sun's editorial "Warming trend" (April 24) that it makes sense to require large businesses to provide their fair share of health care coverage for their employees so that the rest of us don't have to subsidize the hospitalization of their uninsured workers.

We should all be grateful that the Maryland legislature has passed legislation that, among other things, would protect gays from hate crimes and require schools to report bullying incidents.

I am embarrassed and appalled that some so-called Christian groups in our state are organizing to pressure Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to veto these bills aimed at protecting fellow citizens who are victims of discrimination.

Surely it is not God's will, as some of the bills' opponents imply, that discrimination, oppression and bullying continue unchecked, no matter who the victims are.

Fran Nyce

Westminster

My gay daughter does not have a political agenda - other than to be treated fairly.

But now, after years of effort to ensure that lesbians and gays in Maryland are treated equitably, along come a few people who want to reverse this legislation that would add sexual orientation to hate crimes laws, change property tax laws to be fair, allow unmarried partners to make health care decisions and ask schools to report bullying.

All four of my children were raised equally and taught to be charitable, caring and kind. Why shouldn't my gay daughter have the same protections as her siblings?

These bills do not promote marriage or give anyone special rights.

These bills simply provide opportunities for all Marylanders to strengthen and support their families.

Colette Roberts

Columbia

The writer is chairwoman of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Howard County.

I would find the comments of Tres Kerns and the Rev. Rick Bowers laughable were these men not part of a frightening, quasi-Christian jihad that seems to be determined to redefine our democracy, dictate our freedoms and force us all to live as they think we should live.

It's not amusing when extremists try to control our lives and define our civil rights. It's dangerous.

Mr. Kerns implies that the Medical Decision Making Act is about gay people being considered a "special class of citizens." This is simply not true, because that bill includes all unmarried couples.

Pastor Bowers says he's not out to "take anything away from anyone" but is "simply protecting marriage."

Marriage is a civil contract between a couple and their state. Once a couple obtains a marriage license, they can marry legally without the benefit of any religious institution. That marriage is valid in every one of the 50 states. That's a civil marriage, and no religion should be allowed to define that or any other civil right.

Pastor Bowers certainly is attempting to take something away from gays and lesbians - their right to marry the person of their choice and for their civil marriage to be protected equally by law.

It's time for the extreme right wing to be honest about their motives.

They're not protecting marriage or defending the family. They are about denying equality and civil rights to certain Maryland citizens based on a narrow and cruel interpretation of one particular religion.

Rob Lance

Columbia

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