The right thing

June 19, 2006

After a Montgomery County Republican activist described homosexuals as sexual deviants on a public-access TV show, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. took swift and appropriate action. By firing Robert J. Smith from the Washington area's Metro transit authority board last week, Mr. Ehrlich made it clear that such comments are intolerable and wrong.

We could not agree more.

Mr. Smith is entitled to his opinions, of course, but Mr. Ehrlich is also entitled to expect a Metro board member to reflect the views of his administration and to protect Metro's 10,000 employees from potentially discriminatory policies. Yet Mr. Smith seemed unrepentant. When the matter came to light at a board meeting Thursday, he declined to disavow his remarks or apologize to fellow board appointee Jim Graham, an openly gay District of Columbia Council member.

We have not always agreed with Mr. Ehrlich on matters of gay rights; sometimes, it seems, he is caught between what's just plain right and what's right for the right wing. But when he embraces the former, even at the expense of the latter, he deserves a nod.

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