St. Petersburg Times
Print storySubscribe to the Times

Ordinance a shield from hate

Published August 5, 2003

Re: Human rights ordinance is bad policy, letter by R. Bruce McManus, Aug. 1.

Mr. McManus' point seems to be that people who fear or despise those who are different should have the right to act on their bigotry and prejudice.

Are human rights laws not intended to protect the rights of those who are different from the actions of the bigoted and prejudiced? I need not recount the history that led to the establishment of the current human rights laws.

According to Mr. McManus, some of us believe certain people are evil. Homosexuals could not rent from some of us - I suppose not even if the homosexuals were ordained as priests (or even bishops) in the Episcopal church. Perhaps the bigots would not have rented to Tampa police Officer Lois Marrero or her companion. For those with short memories, Officer Marrero was killed while protecting the public from a bank robber.

Mr. McManus has focused on the gay part of the proposed Largo ordinance. There are other aspects. I imagine Mr. McManus is a confident heterosexual. Not everyone has that luxury. Some people are born without clearly differentiated genitals. The surgeon sometimes defines their sexuality differently than their genes did. Needless to say, such people have gender identity issues. Would Mr. McManus protect denial of housing based on a birth defect?

Then there are transgender people. They claim a psychological makeup different from their physical one. What psychiatry cannot fix, surgery must, and they undergo sex change operations. Under the proposed ordinance, they would be protected against the bigotry Mr. McManus wishes to protect.

The evil perceived by the bigoted, intolerant and prejudiced exists only in their minds. Government has a role in protecting the different or unique minority from the bigoted, prejudiced, hate-filled among the majority. That no one else has the courage to do so is not a reason for Largo not to do so.

-- Philipp Michel Reichold, Largo

"Equal' not same as "special'

Re: Human rights ordinance is bad policy, letter by R. Bruce McManus, Aug. 1.

R. Bruce McManus, who I believe to be an attorney, writes: "The only purpose of this ordinance is to grant special rights to gays, lesbians, transvestites, transgender people, bisexuals and various combinations of unmarried people who want rights similar to married couples." Just what are these "special" rights to which he refers as being "similar" to those of married couples?

Later, in defense of his opposition to the proposed ordinance, he says, "The issue of free speech and contrary religious beliefs apparently (are) not considered important." Nor, in this context, should they be.

To further compound the confusion, McManus then adds,"They are demanding more rights and rights unique to them." Does he mean equal treatment in housing and employment? Beats me!

-- Phil Evans, Largo

Dog tribute touching, but impractical

Re: Dog story offers comfort, inspiration, letter, July 30.

I, too, thought what a wonderful tribute. The love Bill and Angela Rutger demonstrated for their late dog Clifford was touching.

Imagine if the money spent on the billboard were instead donated to the Humane Society in Clifford's name. How many other animals would have benefitted from Clifford's love of life.

-- Alison Lynch, Clearwater

Traffic enforcement award laudable

I was pleased to read in the Times that our Clearwater Police Department won statewide recognition for its outstanding traffic safety performance for the third year in a row. Enforcement of traffic laws can be a difficult and sometimes unpopular job, but the end result is the saving of lives. Congratulations to Chief Sid Klein, Lt. Steve Burch who commands the traffic unit, and all the officers of Clearwater's "finest" who had a part in winning this competition.

-- Bill Schwob, Clearwater [Last modified August 5, 2003, 01:17:42]

North Pinellas headlines

  • Calvary Baptist appoints an interim pastor
  • Commission to vote on human rights ordinance
  • Cops disciplined for raucous night
  • Dunedin businesses evacuated after gas leak is detected
  • Firefighters reject three-year pay deal
  • Library ban called lawsuit fodder
  • Sunshine's future bright despite talk of sale, track says

  • Obituary
  • Matriarch of dairy, churches dies at 97
  • Letters: Ordinance a shield from hate
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111