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Bravo, Derrick!

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:51am
Derrick Jackson's column in today's Boston Globe, entitled "The antigay obsession", prompts me to write on a related topic. I have not used this page to comment on current political and social issues, preferring to focus on hospital topics, but I think this is important. And it does relate to medicine and the BIDMC, too.

Beth Israel Hospital was established in 1916 because of discrimination against Jewish doctors and Jewish patients. Open access was therefore a deeply held belief at that hospital, and it is a belief that persists with the new BIDMC. We welcome all ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural groups, and we do our best to treat everyone the same, i.e, as though they were members of our own family. This includes people of all sexual orientations: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender.

This is not only a matter of social justice. It is a matter of life and death. To discriminate on any basis whatsoever is to say that some people are entitled to better care than others. We just do not accept this.

Mr. Jackson's article cites people from religious organizations who say negative things about gay people and about gay marriage. I understand that homosexuality makes some people uncomfortable, and I also understand that gay marriage makes some people uncomfortable. What I don't understand is why they can't ease off and just leave people alone to live their lives.

Unfortunately, our own Governor Romney is in this camp. Fortunately, his term ends soon, and we will be rid of his distressing and nasty speeches on this issue in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, he feels that taking this position will help him in a run for national office, and so now he will express it in a bigger forum. I hope that the vast majority of people in the country agree with Derrick's column and with the people he quotes from South Africa, a country that truly understands discrimination: "This country cannot afford to be a prison of timeworn prejudices which have no basis in modern society."
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