"If Terri Was Gay"
To the Editor:
I just have to respond to the letter from Jerry Vanek (April 7th issue) on the subject of Terri Schiavo. If Terri had been gay, she would not have been married or her marriage would not have been recognized. If Terri had been gay, then at the time of her cardiac arrest, her life-partner could have been denied hospital visitation rights if Terri's parents had decided to do so.
Terri's partner would have found herself fighting to be allowed to see Terri during the years of her therapy. Terri's partner would never have been able to petition the Florida court to determine whether or not Terri's feeding tube should be removed. Terri's parents would have been able to make all the decisions concerning their daughter. If Terri had been gay, this would have been a battle that gay men and women across the country are fighting every day: the battle for the right to be at a life partner's side during a medical crisis.
To the Editor:
Ideologues have already blamed 9/11, hurricanes, and the AIDS epidemic on gays and lesbians. Why not the Terri Schiavo case as well? Did Vanek miss the memo from God about lesbian seismologists triggering the tsunami in an attempt to wipe out the straight population of Southeast Asia? Yes, Mr. Vanek, we're all out to get you and we're bringing several rolls of fabulous drapery fabric with us.
Do people really live under the delusion that gays and lesbians are privileged in this society? What is there about state legislatures and Congress attempting to ban relationships, prevent adoptions, deny tax benefits, and refuse to protect people against hate crimes and workplace discrimination that suggests privilege? Mr. Vanek, when you live under these conditions and pay taxes to the government that imposes such measures, we'll talk about privileges.
Gays and lesbians have long been asking the same kinds of end-of-life questions that straight families are only now asking. In a case where one partner is in the hospital for any reason, much less a persistent vegetative state, the other partner has no legal ability whatsoever in the absence of a medical power-of-attorney bearing his or her name. No matter how estranged the biological family may be, they automatically become legal decision-makers. Some privilege.
To the Editor:
John Branston obviously didn't watch Final Four coverage long enough last Monday night (City Beat, April 7th issue). Roger Powell of Illinois did indeed point to the heavens following his team's loss to North Carolina. When asked what he was thinking, he smiled and said he was thanking Jesus for the season, for the team.
Powell has never claimed God favors the Illini. He has claimed that he -- an ordained Pentecostal minister -- draws his strength from Christ, and if that helps the Illini win, so be it. Yes, there is a lot of finger-pointing to God in sports, but no player is more sincere about it than Roger Powell.
To the Editor:
I want to comment on the hysterical letter of George W.B. Heath in your April 7th issue. Heath wrote that he at first thought the article accompanying the Confederate flag/Howard Dean cover was going to be about the Ku Klux Klan or some other "die-hard racists." Does Heath have this knee-jerk reflex when he sees pictures of the U.S. flag, the Christian flag, the cross of Jesus Christ, and white bedsheets? They have more to do with the Ku Klux Klan than does the Confederate flag.
Heath wrote that the flag is a "symbol of the kind of hate that gunned down [Dr. Martin Luther] King." No, Mr. Heath! Dr. King was gunned down under the United States flag by a man who had no link to Southern nationalism or to the Confederate battle flag.
The one part of Heath's letter that held a smidgen of validity was his statement that "if the Confederate flag means something negative to you, then that's your problem." There are a great deal more proud Southerners who adore our Southern heritage than there are who detest it the way Heath does. We proud and patriotic Southerners have to put up with his crazy rants, even though we are offended by them, so, by God, he can put up with our Southern pride!
Palm Harbor, Florida
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