Summersgill to Blade: Local gays instrumental in passing smoking ban
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Summersgill to Blade: Local gays instrumental in passing smoking ban

The Washington Blade
Letters to the Editor

Friday, December 15, 2006

To the Editors:

The article, ďD.C.ís last dragĒ in the†December 1, 2006 issue of the Blade,†failed to note the strong support in the gay community for the smokefree workplace law and the strong push from our community to pass it.

Half of the advocacy group Smokefree DCís steering committee is gay. The only smokefree bar in D.C. prior to the law passing was a gay bar, a new gay club Be Bar has opened smokefree, and the gay-oriented Duplex Diner went smokefree in April. The major local gay political groups, especially GLAA and Stein, endorsed and testified in favor of the legislation. Health groups serving the gay community including Whitman Walker and Mautner also supported the bill, and the National Coalition for LGBT Health set up a local office to add their support.

The higher rates of smoking in the gay community means that we have the dirtiest bars now, and therefore gay people will be the leading beneficiaries of clean air. However, people may be less likely to go out of their way to visit the few clubs that opposed clean air for their customers and staff. †

While different cities and states have seen different communities taking on the fight for smokefree laws, D.C. is notable for the strong advocacy from the gay community.

Bob Summersgill
Washington, DC

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