Letters To The Editor


September 08, 2005

Schaefer wrong about Marshall statue ceremony

Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer misstated history while expressing his opposition to renaming Baltimore-Washington International Airport in honor of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Mr. Schaefer claimed that Justice Marshall "didn't want to come to the dedication of his statue on Pratt Street" ("Final approval given to adding Marshall name to BWI," Sept. 1).

I remember that ceremony, and the comptroller is mistaken. Justice Marshall not only attended the May 1980 ceremony outside the federal courthouse downtown but he also spoke.

He cautioned the 250 people in attendance that there was still much work on civil rights to be done.

Several months earlier, Justice Marshall had posed for the statue in sculptor Reuben Kramer's Bolton Hill studio.

Justice Marshall also brought along with him to the Baltimore ceremony five of his Supreme Court colleagues, Justices Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan Jr., Lewis F. Powell Jr., John Paul Stevens and Byron R. White.

Justice Marshall's participation was reported in The Sun ("Marshall honored at dedication of statue as `symbol of progress,'" May 17, 1980).

The Sun photo printed with the article showed Mayor Schaefer on the dais.

Like many officials, especially judges, Justice Marshall undoubtedly declined many invitations. But the Baltimore statue ceremony was one that he did not pass up.

But even if Justice Marshall had not attended the ceremony 25 years ago, the General Assembly, the governor and now the Board of Public Works acted wisely in renaming the airport in honor of this distinguished Marylander.

Larry S. Gibson


The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Is marriage equality too much to ask?

Thank you for the wonderful editorial in support of marriage equality ("Whose right to marry?" Aug. 31).

But I have one correction - yes, the General Assembly passed the Medical Decision Making Act, but Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. vetoed it, which leaves gays and lesbians with no benefits at all.

I attended the rally outside the courthouse in support of the lawsuits for gay marriage, and upon leaving met a woman who became upset when she saw my sign calling for equal marriage.

I am a straight, married woman in an interracial marriage, which was illegal not long ago, and I asked her if she was married and how marriage by gays and lesbians would hurt her personally.

She rambled on about slavery, and then how those in favor of gay marriage would destroy society by slowly poisoning marriage rights.

Her concern made me wonder if heterosexual marriage is that fragile and shaky, and if those opposing it have any room in their hearts to encompass other committed loving couples.

Is it asking too much to share the benefits that come with marriage?

Colette Roberts


Most voters favor limits on smoking

Reporter Larry Carson's article "Howard smoking ban may get vote" (Sept. 2) said it could be "politically risky" for County Executive James N. Robey to introduce a smoke-free restaurant-bar bill.

Politically risky? More than 90 percent of Howard County voters don't smoke, and polls show that most support smoke-free air.

Where's the risk in that?

To smart politicians, voters' health concerns will trump restaurant industry money every time.

Glenn Schneider


The writer is legislative committee chairman for Smoke-free Howard County.

Black Caucus wrong to play the race card

I was enraged and saddened by the response of members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the wake of Hurricane Katrina ("Disaster brings race, class to forefront," Sept. 3).

Was the slow response a result of the fact that many of the folks who were stranded were poor and black? Possibly but not probably.

There is enough blame to go around.

But for U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and the other members of the CBC to get up there and blame the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and President Bush is nonsense.

The members of the Black Caucus are just as culpable as our other elected officials, and showing their hypocrisy by playing the race card helps no one.

Tony Hanback


It's crass to suggest tragedy will be boon

Stories of horror and loss were spread across the first six pages of The Sun on Sept. 2. This made the article "Baltimore hoping to snag some conventions slated for New Orleans" (Sept. 2) stand out all the more.

The first time I read the headline, I could not believe my eyes. How could the editors of The Sun be so callous as to suggest that Baltimore should benefit from the tragedy in New Orleans?

I see little difference between this type of profiteering from the suffering of others and that displayed by the looters in New Orleans.

At a time when we as a nation should be working together to help our fellow man, The Sun is suggesting otherwise.

Jeff Mahn


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