In Neil Burmeister’s recent letter (We Forgave President Obama. Isn’t It Time to Forgive Coral Ridge?) to SFGN, he attempts to gaslight the readers of SFGN and it begs a response.  

While it is true that since the ‘90s the LGBT community has overwhelmingly supported Democratic presidential candidates Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden despite some of their past equivocations on full LGBT equality, we did so with a clear understanding that the Republican candidates were always far worse. Some were openly hostile towards us in their campaigns.

In the 2004 election against Kerry, George W. Bush touted his support for permanently banning gay marriages in the constitution. Many in our community were upset when Ellen DeGeneres defended her apparent friendship with Bush, not because we don’t believe in the power of forgiveness, but because Bush never apologized, nor did Ellen ever acknowledge the despair Bush inflicted on our people.

Which brings me to Burmeister’s main point: defending Fort Lauderdale’s gay mayor Dean Trantalis from attacks over his March 16 proclamation honoring the historically anti-LGBT Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Burmeister refers to the anti-LGBT work done on the Coral Ridge campus as just “different ideas.” He says, “We will never agree with every policy or opinion of every group.”

It saddens me to see a gay man who thinks so little of his own humanity, that he regards promoting bans on gay adoptions and shaming LGBT youth as mere “differences of opinion.”

How many suicides, how many families torn apart, how many hate crimes, how much mind-numbing drug and alcohol abuse, how much anger and desperation can be traced to Coral Ridge ministry’s set of beliefs that teach LGBTs to pose a dire threat to families, Christianity, and society itself?

Mayor Trantalis, Mr. Burmeister and Coral Ridge Pastor Pacienza, questioning the decency, humanity and equality of LGBT people and families in 2021 is not a benign set of beliefs. It is an ugly manifestation of hate. And whether a mayor is gay or straight, to suggest that it’s time the LGBT community “let go of resentment” towards a church with this history of atrocities against LGBT youth and adults, while they show no hint of contrition or a behavioral shift, is insulting and disrespectful to all LGBT people and allies.

- Marc Paige

Fort Lauderdale