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As a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights -- with both friends and family members firmly in this camp -- I am disturbed by the attacks on Councilman Donald Williams after his June 4 decision to abstain from a vote on whether or not to allow the rainbow and transgender flags to be flown on the city’s flagpole.

How does an abstaining vote so quickly lead to labeling a council member as homophobic, or to question his honor, or his dedication to representing all people of Calistoga?

We do need to publicly recognize and support one another, whether we are LGBTQ, immigrants, people of color, women, the working poor, or any other group under attack. But as we do so, let us also honor one of the most important values of the pride movement, that of respecting people’s differences. It’s interesting and ironic that the target of all this anger and intolerance happens to be a person who actually lives, rather humbly and quietly, by his ethics and desire to help others.

So, as Donald said in response to the attacks “ ... let us be kind to one another -- understanding and not judgmental -- as we strive for an inclusive community grateful for every person of goodwill.”

Jenni Norris

Calistoga

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