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Letters: Obama on Marriage; Gay Games
2004-02-11

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Obama on Marriage

As an African-American man, a child of an interracial marriage, a committed scholar, attorney and activist who works to protect the Bill of Rights, I am sensitive to the struggle for civil rights. As a state Senator, I have taken on the issue of civil rights for the LGBT community as if they were my own struggle because I believe strongly that the infringement of rights for any one group eventually endangers the rights enjoyed under law by the entire population. Since 1996, I have been the sponsor or a chief co-sponsor of measures to expand civil liberties for the LGBT community including hate-crimes legislation, adoption rights and the extension of basic civil rights to protect LGBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and credit.

Today, I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unlike any of my opponents, I have a legislative track record. No one has to guess about what I will do in Washington. My record makes it very clear. I will be an unapologetic voice for civil rights in the U.S. Senate.

For the record, I opposed DOMA [ the Defense of Marriage Act ] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted ... .

When Members of Congress passed DOMA, they were not interested in strengthening family values or protecting civil liberties. They were only interested in perpetuating division and affirming a wedge issue. ...

Despite my own feelings about an abhorrent law, the realities of modern politics persist. While the repeal of DOMA is essential, the unfortunate truth is that it is unlikely with Mr. Bush in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress. ...

We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize—equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced. We must continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent and seamless throughout all 50 states, and we must repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military policy.

I know how important the issue of equal rights is to the LGBT community. I share your sense of urgency. If I am elected U.S. Senator, you can be confident that my colleagues in the Senate and the President will know my position.

Barack Obama

Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Senate

________________________________________

Gay Games

In his letter to the Windy City Times, Damon Marquis writes: 'I am writing to correct several points made by the Windy City Times in the article ... . In this analysis, WCT claims that I oppose the Chicago Games, Inc. solely based on conversations I have had with representatives from Rendez-Vous Montreal 2006. This could not be further from the truth.'

For the record, here is what was said in WCT: 'But Marquis' argument is based on conversations he had with Tom Czerniecki, the marketing communications director for the Montreal 2006 efforts.' Obviously, the Windy City Times author never claimed that Marquis' argument was based solely on conversations with Montreal 2006.

More than three quarters of Mr. Marquis' opposition letter of 1/20 to ACLGBTI Members is dedicated to describing point by point his communication with Montreal 2006 ( that's 1,583 words out of 2,060 ) . As a result, it is really quite fair for the Windy City Times writer to conclude as she did that Council Member Marquis based his arguments 'on conversations he had with Tom Czerniecki, the marketing communications director for the Montreal 2006.' While Council Member Marquis may have some valid points that should be considered, by so obviously attempting to distort the Windy City Times article he has unfortunately undermined his own credibility a great deal.

Damon Marquis also wrote: 'I became very concerned that Chicago Games, Inc., was more interested in spinning the truth than telling the truth.' Is Mr. Marquis implying that Chicago Games Inc. was intentionally lying to advance their cause? If so, his charge is completely unsubstantiated. A smear of this sort is simply not appropriate coming from a person entrusted with the responsibility of advising the city on Gay and Lesbian Issues.

Like it or not, these are the facts: The Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbians Issues unanimously approved a resolution which would 'provide and encourage all feasible and advisable support to Chicago Games, Inc. in hosting its activities after a review of award terms if its bid is accepted by the Federation of Gay Games.'

The Chicago bid effort for Gay Games VII is moving forward, and I for one am very excited to see two great cities seeking to perpetuate the quarter century tradition of Dr. Tom Waddell that is the Gay Games. Yes, Mr. Marquis, it is actually quite a bit more than just a logo.

Richard Williams

Tournament Standards Chair

Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance

Miami Beach, Fla.


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