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Brave new world.

Bravo for your "Now What?" issue [December 7]. It saddens me to know that people are actually considering leaving the country. That seems to be the easy way out--and just what many of the far right would like to see happen. There's a lot of chatter about votes cast based on moral values. However, those who pine for the "Norman Rockwell" moral-values view of America should realize there's a reason Rockwell was a painter and not a photographer. Perhaps the best answer to "Now what?" is to stay, organize, educate, donate, contribute, and continue to build stronger communities. The best thing about America is its diversity. Now, more than ever, our talents and voices are needed.

Craig Olson, Clear Lake, Iowa

Your December 7 cover asks, "Now What?" Might I suggest that we start by looking among ourselves for some answers.

In 2000, George W. Bush was a relatively unknown quantity, and thus I cannot fault the million or so gays and lesbians who voted for Bush and helped him win. However, in the last four years this president has done absolutely nothing to convince me that he has the well-being or best interests of the gay community at heart; if anything, his pandering to the religious right has demonstrated the exact opposite, best demonstrated by his proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. Yet exit polls showed nearly the same percentage and number of gay voters throwing their support to Bush in 2004. To them I must ask: "What were you thinking?" Those million votes cast the other way could have resulted in a drastically different--and, many would argue, better--outcome.

Matt Merkle, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

While reading Hilary Rosen's response to The Advocate's question "Now what?" it became apparent that the recommendation to settle for civil unions as a means toward full marriage rights was offered by a Democratic strategist trying to deflect blame for a flawed presidential campaign.

Such a backward approach toward championing GLBT rights makes me shudder to imagine the direction Rosen will take the Human Rights Campaign as its interim executive director.

Her strategy proved to be the downfall of John Kerry's presidential campaign, which became consumed with trying to appease voters who already shared the political, social, and economic views of George W. Bush, meanwhile compromising the principles of the Democratic Party.

By settling for a handout (i.e., civil unions) instead of continuing to demand equality guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, GLBT citizens would be sending a signal to the religious right that we really do not believe we are equal.

The popular opinion in favor of civil unions that Rosen cited while stating her case for not "looking a gift horse in the mouth" should have no bearing on our quest to secure the equal fights that are being unjustly withheld. Issues of equality cannot be decided by popular opinion. Rosen's reliance on polls to build her case only empowers enemies of the GLBT community who are counting on the American public to provide them with a vote of confidence and permission to perpetuate unlawful discrimination.

Ed Gray, Wilton Manors, Fla.

After reading the polemics in response to your question "Now what?" I have the view that the gay community is leaving out one of the key aspects that caused us to be "Bushwhacked again," as you put it. It is my view that gays often paint themselves into a corner by refusing to join forces with religion.

No, I do not mean the opponent's more fundamental religion. I am speaking mainly of liberal Protestantism and some of its derivatives. These denominations are the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist, the Unity School of Christianity, and the Metropolitan Community Church.

Those who are "true believers" of orthodox fundamentalist views have clearly demonstrated in 2004 their devotion. No, the more liberal religious community is not likely to have an impact on their conservative beliefs. However, there are many who are not so committed to a conservative religious view. We need to realize that religion has varying points of view and not all Christian denominations view the gay individual as evil. Working with our religious allies might actually get us somewhere. We need to do this instead of lumping all religion in the category of "against us," as the gay community seems so often to do.

R. Gene Humke, East Peoria, Ill.
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Title Annotation:reader forum
Author:Humke, R. Gene
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 18, 2005
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