Star power

Thank you for covering the town hall meeting in Ferndale regarding the issue of same-sex marriage (“Blunting the wedge,” Metro Times, March 3). You make several great points in your article, but there is one glaring error that needs to be corrected for the readership of the Metro Times. In the second paragraph of the article you write, “Behind the stage hung a U.S. flag with only 14 stars, representing the 14 states where gay and lesbian couples enjoy civil unions.” This is patently incorrect. The 14 stars visible on the flag represent the 14 states in which you cannot be fired from your job for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. So really, what’s “enjoyed” in those 14 states is equal protection in employment — something most people think LGBT individuals already have nationwide. We don’t (by the way, Michigan is NOT one of those 14 states).

As far as the “enjoyment” of civil unions go, currently Vermont is the ONLY state to offer a legal civil union. That civil union is not recognized at the federal level, nor is the union recognized by any other state (i.e. a couple with a Vermont civil union who live in Michigan essentially just have a nice certificate to frame. I know; my partner and I have one). —Laura Kane-Witkowski, Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Ferndale,


Debunking tradition

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says his “faith” prevents him from supporting my marriage. But my faith supports my marriage. Surely Mayor Kilpatrick recalls the days when people said their “faith” prevented them from giving him and other African-Americans civil rights.

Conservatives are using the word “traditional” to refer to their specific religious views. By doing so they are adding religion to the debate, and violating freedom of religion. How can our religious wedding ceremony, conducted by a rabbi, not be traditional and holy? Only if same-sex marriages were purely legal, this argument might hold water. Instead, it’s an unfair violation of freedom of religion. —Joe Kort, Royal Oak,


Gentrify this!

I’m increasingly dismayed by the attitude I see exemplified in the Metro Times cover article “Hipster Economics” (Feb. 25) — as well as in Kwame’s recent address to the city, and, while we’re at it, Metro Times’ coverage of redevelopment in general.

It seems that people look at neighborhoods like mine (on the northwest edge of Corktown) and all they can see are the vacant lots and burned-out buildings. Their eyes just pass right over the garden plots, the independent businesses, the working class homes and the people who live in them.

These people are invariably the victims of displacement. They’re the ones who are asked to pay unreasonable rent increases when landlords think they can make a fast buck. They’re the ones who are pushed aside so that the hip young Starbucks customers can be installed.

If groups like CreateDetroit want a truly better future for the city, they need to include the ideas and concerns of thousands of everyday Detroiters, not just those can afford (or want to pay for) $60 seminars and overpriced lofts. —Erik Reuland, Detroit,


Movin’ out

Mr. Lessenberry’s column (“Detroit’s state of madness,” Metro Times, March 3) came at an appropriate time for me, since I just fired off letters this week to the mayor and City Council explaining why I am leaving the city after nearly 20 years as a resident. I had the financial means to leave a long time ago, but stuck it out in the hopes that things would improve.

The final straw for me was the violation notice I received in my door last week, threatening to charge me with up to a $10,000 fine because I put my garbage can on the street a few hours early. I can’t believe that my tax dollars are being used to pay people to drive around the city and harass residents on such minor matters while the city crumbles around me! So I officially give up, I am taking my tax dollars to the suburbs where I can only hope they will be better utilized. —Cindy J. Briggs, Detroit Send comments to

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