And then there is Rob Hurtt, who gave $150,000 to his little attack pup, Randy Thomasson, to run the ads in papers and do the mailings. Hurtt is on record saying he believes homosexual conduct should be recriminalized and that a 20-year penalty is about right, thank you very much!

So this is the crowd who turned Correa into a bitch and didn't use any Vaseline to do it: one professional gay-basher, one Holocaust revisionist and one who wants to send gays to jail for 20 years.

A pretty sorry bunch to cause a member of the California Assembly to quake in fear.

—Jerry Sloan, Sacramento

I was one of the local protesters against Assembly Bill 222, and as such, I would like to set the record straight (no, that is not a pun!) with regard to how and why we went about our protests.

When I first heard about AB 222, I was horrified. While I am personally of the opinion that homosexual Americans have every right to lead whatever lifestyles they choose, I do not think that they have the right to force the rest of us to accept their sexual choice. As a Christian, I believe that homosexuality is a sin. That means that I cannot condone said practice. Does that mean I hate homosexuals? Of course not. Instead, I pray that they will find some measure of happiness in their lives, that they will eventually come to accept the Lord and his forgiveness.

AB 222 would have resulted in my children's public-school teachers having to teach them that it is all right to be homosexual. This is wrong for a great many reasons. First, I don't want my children to have to think about sexual issues until they are older. When they are old enough to understand such concepts, my wife and I will teach them what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. We are already raising our children to be good citizens—and that includes a respect for others. We will ask them to avoid homosexuality and to live their lives as God intended.

Second, our schools have no right to teach values to our children. It is the job of families and clergy to do that. What I expect from public education is a dedication to teaching children reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, etc. That is especially important here in California, a state that ranks second to last in education.

Third, there are already plenty of laws on the books that protect our children and students from harassment. However, many go unenforced. The bottom line is that teachers and administrators should do all in their power to stop bullies—no matter who their victims are. Equal protection under the law means not establishing special rights for particular groups of people. After the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, are we now going to press for laws to protect athletes and Christians? That is unlikely, and it would not stop maniacs from wreaking havoc on unsuspecting victims.

As for the protests in Santa Ana, please know that I was the chief instigator of same. I asked the Reverend Lou Sheldon to help me, and he did. I also received help from other activists throughout the state and the country. The bilingual fliers that were delivered at local churches were hand-delivered by six of us, including a guy in a wheelchair. They were so effective that Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) thought we had manned a phone bank! In truth, we could not afford to do so.

In closing, I ask you to consider the difference between acceptance and tolerance. While I certainly tolerate homosexuals, I will never accept their lifestyle nor will I allow them to gain access to my children. They, on the other hand, do not so much as tolerate my religious views.

Americans are already the most tolerant people in the world. Is there room to improve? Sure, but the best way to accomplish that is to allow—and insist—that parents do their job and do all we can to make sure that our children are literate and have access to higher education. Forcing the public to accept alternative-lifestyle choices will not improve anyone's lot, and it is un-American to the extreme.

—Art Pedroza Jr., Chairman, Santa Ana Families Who Care Matt Coker responds: Where to begin? Well, how about with the fact that AB 222—the Dignity for All Students Act—said nothing about forcing teachers to teach that it's all right to be homosexual (although if teachers did teach that, there wouldn't be as much of a need for AB 222). What the bill would have done was prohibit actual or perceived sexual orientation as a basis for discrimination in any public or private school program or activity or in any postsecondary institution accepting public funds or enrolling students who receive state student financial aid. It also would have prohibited similar discrimination against teachers. If, as you put it, "our schools have no right to teach values to our children," why on Earth would you solicit the help of the Reverend Lou Sheldon, who for years has tried to force his religious views (for example, prayer in school) on public schoolchildren? Here's your first clue, Art: he heads the TraditionalValues Coalition. As for there being plenty of laws on the books protecting kids from harassment, too bad those laws didn't help Adam Colton. The San Marin High School (Novato) student was beaten in September 1998 after he came out at school and organized a gay/straight student alliance. While officials fumbled through the books, searching for something to help protect Colton, he was jumped again on Feb. 12, 1999. This time, his attackers used a pen to carve the word "fag" into his forearm and chest. Space prohibits me from citing other examples up and down the state, but I think you get the idea. Finally, I do know the difference between acceptance and tolerance—and your letter demonstrates neither. While you are busy protecting your children from homosexuals, I ask you to consider filling them in on their one course of action should a bully in a California public school call them "homos": run.
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