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The Pros and Cons of Boycotting Colorado

December 29, 1992



Regarding the article "Anti-Gay-Rights Law Leads to Colorado Boycott Calls," Dec. 3: Boycotting appears to be out of control: If people boycott everyone they don't agree with, all trade will shortly grind to a halt.

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Boycotting other states by prohibiting travel to or purchases of products from these states is not only interference with interstate commerce, but it is also beyond the chartered authority of state and local governments.

Taxpayers of Colorado who send federal funds to state governments such as Georgia and California should be able to stop all federal funds flowing to any organization that boycotts their state. United States laws prohibit firms from abiding by boycotts imposed by foreign governments, such as the Arab boycott of Israel.

It is not right that taxpayers should subsidize any city or state that boycotts our fellow Americans. Should the federal government terminate all contracts in California and Georgia? Richard Wojciechowski, Springfield, Va.

The anti-gay intent of Colorado's Amendment No. 2 is clear: It outlaws claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It does this by overturning three existing local ordinances and prohibiting future enactment of antidiscrimination laws at the local and state levels.

The law would be fair if the laws which the amendment targeted indeed granted "special rights," such as affirmative action or quota hiring for gay and lesbian people. Instead, the ordinances in Boulder, Denver, and Aspen simply include sexual orientation in a list of human characteristics upon which it is illegal to discriminate in housing, employment, and public accommodations. These laws ensure basic human rights which are often withheld from people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

One need not look far beneath the surface of the moderate-sounding rhetoric expounded by proponents of Amendment 2 to recognize that Colorado's law is but one step in the religious right's national agenda to force a repressive and archaic version of Christianity on the American people.

A national boycott of the State of Colorado will send a clear message: Equal rights for all Americans is a costly freedom for us to give up - in more ways than one. Gregory Norton, Boulder, Colo. A test of media objectivity

The Opinion page column "Attentive Voters, Biased Reporters," Dec. 15, is timely and thoughtful. The problem with bias in reporting goes well beyond this one issue.

For example, I recently surveyed my local newspaper for 90 days and concluded that it would not print a story about legitimate self-defense use of firearms unless the events depicted in the story occurred in a place where the paper's readership would know about the incidents from other sources.

But the newspaper would go anywhere in the world for a story about a criminal abusing a firearm. During the survey period, there were four articles about self-defense that described events an average of 40 miles from the point of publication. There were 55 articles about firearms abuse, and the average distance was 26 times as far as the average for self-defense stories.

In the area of media objectivity, there is clearly much room for improvement. William G. Dennis, Keslo, Wash.