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Support for Harvey Milk Day

October 17, 2009

Re "Lame-duck calls," Editorial, Oct. 13

I was disappointed with your editorial opposing Harvey Milk Day. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should be commended for helping to advance equality.

Milk was a transformative leader at a time when LGBT people's most basic humanity was denied. One of the first openly gay elected officials, he mobilized thousands to defeat discriminatory policies.

Like my grandfather, Cesar E. Chavez, Milk was an advocate for social justice causes that have shaped California. He courageously broke down the closet door for millions and made Californians understand that our LGBT brothers and sisters are just that: our brothers and sisters.

Californians can both learn a great deal from Milk's legacy and draw inspiration from his story of hope.

Christine Chavez

Washington

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The Times disagrees with the controversial bill designating a statewide Harvey Milk Day, as it "will only add to the hysteria surrounding gay rights, proving to conservatives that proponents really are eager to teach homosexuality in the schools."

There is, indeed, hysteria over the issue of gay rights, but only within the far right wing of the fundamentalist voters who are being catered to by the Republicans. Caving in to the misunderstandings of this group doesn't seem to me any way to run a country.

What you seem to be saying is "don't stir things up" and let the far right have its way. The trouble is, it is a fallacy they are asserting: Teaching homosexuality in the schools does not make the students decide to be gay.

I've been pleased, however, by some previous gay-rights positions taken by The Times; you've shown courage and common sense. Your feature articles about homes, architecture, food and finances that tell about same-sex couples in a matter-of-fact way is what will eventually bring about tolerance.

Diana Strain

La Mesa, Calif.

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