Wednesday, September 12, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 215



Staff Editorial


Tom Carpenter        Ken Fountain 
Nikie Johnson          Keenan Singleton       Audrey Warren


It's just not right

A great injustice is on the horizon, and it has nothing to do with last week's terrorist attacks.

A group called Houstonians for Family Values is attempting to get a referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot that
would block the City of Houston from offering health benefits to domestic partners of homosexual

David Wilson, the group's founder, turned in 21,028 certified signatures (1,028 more than needed) from
people who signed a petition to "help stop the homosexual political agenda from turning Houston into
another San Francisco."

Though the wording has not been approved, it has been proposed that Houstonians should vote in
November on whether, "(e)xcept as required by State or Federal law, the City of Houston shall not
provide employment benefits, including health care, to persons other than employees, their legal
spouses and dependent children "

It is a travesty that a group purporting to stand for family values would keep these benefits from two loving
partners who happen to be of the same sex.

Mayor Lee P. Brown proposed to the City Council in January that the city should extend its health care
benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. But after hearing concerns that the city would simply fire
those who asked for those benefits if they became available, he withdrew the proposal until the council
can pass a law to protect those employees from discrimination.

This proposed referendum appears to be a preemptive strike against Brown's plans. It attacks the rights
of homosexuals, seeking to punish them because the state does not recognize same-sex unions.

But what is at heart here, what the issue always boils down to, is that the people who oppose these rights
don't want their tax dollars going to something their religion says is morally wrong. 

It is unjust and contrary to the American way to pass a law based on what one religion says is right and
what is wrong. This country was settled partly to escape from religious oppression, but movements such
as this seek to discriminate against people using religious motives.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that state universities can't prevent student fees from going to campus organizations just because some students don't agree with the message. This case fundamentally uses the same logic.

If the city allows such a reactionary measure to pass and be implemented, it will be committing an outrageous civil rights violation.

Just because a person happens to belong to an ethnic or religious group doesn't mean he or she can be blamed for the actions of the most extreme member of that group.

This is not a time to jump to conclusions and blame innocent people. This is a time to come together and mourn the nation's losses. It is a time for us to assess what has happened and determine as a nation how to punish the people who are responsible for the heinous crimes.

As we pick up the pieces and continue on with life, remember the values upon which our society is based. Be proud of the heroes who risked and lost their lives helping others in the collapsed buildings. Respect the law enforcement officials and other government agents who will be putting in millions of hours in this investigation. Stand behind our military as it prepares to avenge the act of terrorism.

But whatever you do, don't lower yourself to the level of the vile criminal who committed this act by taking out your anger on innocent people.

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