Volume 75, Number 32 | Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2005

Letters to the editor

Mayor’s dissembling on marriage

To The Editor:
Re “Bloomberg: I would testify for gay marriage in Albany” (news article, Nov. 14):

Mayor Bloomberg’s claim that he hopes he loses his appeal against civil marriage for same-sex couples in the New York Court of Appeals is both patronizing and insulting to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It is also an argument that defies logic.

In February, Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohen ruled in favor of same-sex civil marriage. She based her decision on the plain language of the equal-protection clause of the New York State Constitution. Mayor Bloomberg would have us believe he was “forced” to appeal this ruling because his own staff in the corporation counsel’s office did not agree with the decision.

In reality, the buck stops with Mayor Bloomberg. The corporation counsel works for him. If Mayor Bloomberg was a real advocate for same-sex marriage he would have ordered his attorneys to make the best legal arguments in favor of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Instead of accepting the ruling of Doris Ling-Cohen and marrying same-sex couples in the city of New York, he appealed the ruling — and his legal papers are filled with right-wing rhetoric that the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman.

I was in the audience last February at the Human Rights Campaign dinner when Mayor Bloomberg announced he would appeal Judge Ling-Cohen’s decision. He claimed that he needed to appeal in order to “spare” the L.G.B.T. community the “pain” of being civilly married now only to have their marriages voided by a higher court later. It was a shallow and cynical argument — the L.G.B.T. community does not need someone to pat us on the head and spare us pain. We know full well the pain of discrimination and are committed to eliminating it.

Here is the legal scenario Mayor Bloomberg would have taken if he was actually committed to civil marriage for same-sex couples: He would not have appealed the ruling of Judge Ling-Cohen and started to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. He would have used his corporation counsel’s staff to argue in favor of same-sex civil marriage in the higher courts. He would have also filed amicus briefs in favor of civil marriage in Upstate courts that are addressing the same issue. He did none of these things and is now in the dubious position of arguing against same-sex civil marriage in the state’s highest court.

Mayor Bloomberg’s absurd position that he is in favor of same-sex civil marriage, while his corporation counsel argues against it, is nothing but the worst kind of political double talk and slight of hand that fools no one. Mayor Bloomberg’s actions speak far louder than his words.

Thomas K. Duane
Duane is state senator for the 29th District

You guys are right on track

To The Editor:
We’d like to express our gratitude to everyone at The Villager for your continuing coverage of the High Line project. We are consistently impressed by the nuanced and thoughtful treatment of the project and its relationship to our surrounding neighborhoods.

Friends of the High Line has always relied on community support to bring our project to reality. Without the involvement of an energetic and informed public, we never would have been so successful in our efforts to save the High Line. As our organization has grown and our role has shifted, we have come to rely increasingly on community involvement, from input in the design process to the important work of our volunteers. Without intelligent community resources such as your paper, our job would be much more difficult. You have done immeasurable good in keeping the community informed and involved in our project and we can’t thank you enough.

As we prepare to begin construction on our new public open space, we know we can count on the editorial and reporting staff at The Villager to maintain your good work. We hope you will continue to ask tough questions and give complex analyses of the High Line project so that we can fulfill our goal of the High Line becoming a true asset to our community.

P.S.: Congrats on the New York magazine article. We are fortunate to have you.

Robert Hammond
Joshua David
Hammond and David are co-founders of Friends of the High Line

We only seem like nuts

To The Editor:
Re Scoopy’s Notebook, “Feeling the love” (Dec. 21):

The people who write letters to The Villager are not necessarily nut jobs as New York magazine would claim. However, it is very possible we come across as nutty…to an outsider. “Locals” usually have that problem. “Locals” see and are aware of things that others do not notice. When spoken about, these issues must seem pretty odd to the boring people who are forced to live in the rest of the world. Not to us, though. To us, it is as natural as kicking a cab.

Oh well, let them scratch their heads. We know what we mean.

Lawrence White

Clark is a despot’s best friend

To The Editor:
Re “Trying to figure out Ramsey Clark was never easy” (talking point, by Ed Gold, Dec. 21):

What Ramsey Clark and folks like him all have in common is that they have never lived in a terrorist state nor been subjected to the whims of a tyrannical dictator. Though Mr. Clark may disagree that he does not live in a terrorist state, the fact that he freely walks the streets of New York, travels about the world and has all his eyes, fingernails and other bodily parts, strongly suggests to me that he lives in an open and free society.

Perhaps he would have less sympathy for mass murderers if he saw his own children, grandchildren, parents, friends, relatives and siblings fed to hungry lions, subjected to poison gas, worked to death in a gulag or in a killing field or watched them suffer a slow and very painful death due to (politically motivated) starvation.

While many books have been written about the psychology of murderers and tyrants, I have yet to find one that discusses the mindset of sympathizers of mass murderers who just happen to live in a free and open society, and much more frightening, who demonstrate not the slightest sympathy for the victims of mass murderers. That would be a fascinating read indeed.
Alex Custin

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