Margarita Lopez, the New York Post and Scientology

August 12, 2005

To the Editor:

From their repeated slanders of me to their front-page pronouncement that Kerry had chosen Gephardt as his running mate, the New York Post has time and time again proven to be highly inaccurate and sensational. (“Lopez Punches Back at the Post,” by Lincoln Anderson, Aug. 11-17). They have also proven to be no friend of the LGBT community. Let us not forget that GLAAD was formed in direct response to a series of protests following the Post’s vicious reporting of the AIDS crisis and the LGBT community. The paper’s recent stories concerning Margarita Lopez are but the latest examples of this practice.

First—contrary to what the New York Post reported—I am now, have always been, and will continue to be a strong supporter of Margarita’s bid for Manhattan borough president. Second, the Post’s report about the Victory Fund is inaccurate. It is my understanding that, despite attempts to characterize otherwise, no one from the Victory Fund ever spoke to the Post. In reality, the Victory Fund’s commitment to Margarita’s campaign has been as strong and unwavering as mine.

Finally, contrary to what the New York Post reported, I have not received a flood of phone calls from the gay community asking me to rescind my endorsement of Margarita for Manhattan borough president. I’ve received only one such call—from the other gay candidate in the race.

Deborah J. Glick

Member, New York State Assembly

August 05, 2005

To the Editor:

I am a 28-year-old New York City firefighter, present at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (“Scientology Flap Ensnares Lopez,” by Paul Schindler, Aug. 4-10). Many persons continue to need help, including volunteers and construction workers. Chelation is an old and accepted method of releasing toxins from the body. There are times when the American Medical Association should get off its high horse. Certainly its objections are often ungrounded.

Unfortunately politicians are often affected by blather, bigotry, and gossip.

That is why it is important to support a fair and accurate press.

Brent Crobak

Stony Brook, Long Island

Executions in Iran

July 29, 2005

To the Editor:

I am a 26-year-old international student from Pakistan, and I am gay. I was horrified and felt nauseated to learn about the hanging of two gay teens in Iran. (“Iran Executes Two Teens,” by Duncan Osborne, Jul. 28-Aug. 3). The saddest thing is that these bigots in Iran are deliberately ignorant of the fact that although there are specific harsh punishments prescribed for straight sex out of wedlock in Qura’n, there is no specific punishment in the Book for homosexuality. Moreover, Qura’n tells Muslims to forgive two men caught in a homosexual act, if they ask for forgiveness. I am attaching the exact words here.

As for the two of you (Men) who are guilty thereof, punish them both.

And if they repent and improve, let them be.

Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.

(Qura’n: Chapter 4. Verse 16, Pickthall Translation)

So why were they punished? The remotely logical conclusion that I come to, though there can be no logic behind this brutality, is that these fundamentalists might be using the 900-year old ruling from an Islamic judge (which came 400 years after Muhammad’s death) who “thought” that homosexuality should be punishable by stoning or burning. I think we are scapegoats everywhere, be it the U.S.A. or Iran or Pakistan. May God help all of us!

Usman Shaukat


The Medical Marijuana Debate

July 22, 2005

To the Editor:

A few thoughts on Nathan Riley’s commentary, “Marijuana and the Law” (Jul. 21-27). First, the Supreme Court’s ruling and the push by some California cities to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries hardly constitute a “one-two punch” to the medical marijuana movement. The high court for the first time declared unconditionally, “Marijuana has valid therapeutic purposes”—a historic milestone that is arguably much more important than the technical effect of the ruling, which simply maintained the status quo. State medical marijuana laws remain valid and fully in force, but do not confer immunity from federal prosecution. That’s the situation patients have lived with for years.

As for local regulation, this is a good and necessary development. No one in the medical marijuana movement wants a Wild West situation with no rules and no accountability. Medical marijuana dispensaries must follow the law and be good neighbors. Responsible local regulation is the best way to ensure this—and the biggest obstacle to effective local regulation is federal law that treats anyone providing medical marijuana to those living with AIDS or cancer as no different than common drug dealers.

Second, the saga in Rhode Island is far from over. The governor’s veto of the medical marijuana bill was instantly and overwhelmingly overridden by the State Senate. A House override vote will come later this summer.

Bruce Mirken

Director of communications Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C.

July 25, 2005

To the Editor:

Regarding Nathan Riley’s July 21 column: if health outcomes determined drug laws, instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents. The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association.

By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the very same Bush administration that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country from terrorism.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.

A Dance Clarification

July 28, 2005

To the Editor:

Thank you for reviewing the La Mama Show in “An Effortless Stretch into Infinity” (By Gariela Pawelec and Brian McCormick, Jul. 21-27).

I’d like to make a correction. The quote, “I wonder what speaks louder, this dance or this story” came from my piece and is the premise of my work “Dancing to Cambodia.” I will be performing the work in its entirety later this fall at the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Oct. 28-30.

Paz Tanjuaquio



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