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Letters to the Editor

Proud Supporter Of Pride

As the Senior Minister and as the Social Justice Coordinator of the  First Unitarian Church of San Jose, we were astonished by the political cartoon by DeCinzo in the June 18 edition of Metro, depicting the First Unitarian Church as "anti-gay." Frankly, it has shocked all of us at First Unitarian, as well as all who know us.

How could Mr. DeCinzo have gotten it so wrong?

During that same week, our congregation had marched and sung in the San Jose Pride Parade with our usual large contingent. At the Pride Parade our congregational president Tracy Avent shadowed the "Homo Sex Is Sin" folks in order to provide a BGLT-friendly presence by twirling his rainbow umbrella in counter-protest.

During that same week, First Unitarian had been featured on numerous news broadcasts for our support of equal marriage rights. Watch CBS 5's coverage of San Jose Pride at[email protected] to see us in the parade and to hear our minister's interview.

During that same week, First Unitarian had hosted eight beautiful same-sex wedding ceremonies in our sanctuary, offering free church weddings, complete with individualized ceremony, music, photography and champagne reception, as our gift to the wider community on Tuesday evening, June 17. Then, on June 18, just as your paper was hitting the newsstands, our beloved members Jean and Kristin Rivers renewed their vows on the eighth anniversary of their first commitment ceremony; Judge LaDoris Cordell officiated at this legal wedding, as she had at the ceremony eight years ago.

The First Unitarian Church of San Jose is a multicultural, joyful and justice-making congregation that has been a leader in social-justice ministry in San Jose since our founding in 1865. As people of faith, we draw on a wide range of religious sources, including Jesus' command to "Love Thy Neighbor," and we understand this instruction to include as our neighbors people of different ages, races, national origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. We embrace a long history of supporting bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender rights. As a "Welcoming Congregation," a certification earned for our anti-oppression work on BGLT issues, we voted unanimously to sign the Amicus Brief that was submitted to the California Supreme Court. Both the name of our congregation and my name as a Unitarian Universalist pastor appear at the end of the Court's decision that recognizes same-sex marriages in this state. Every Sunday we fly the rainbow flag so that everyone knows that we welcome and embrace all to our worship services and congregational life.

We invite the Metro staff, Mr. DeCinzo and members of the community to visit our website for an accurate understanding of who we are: Better yet, visit us on a Sunday morning: all are welcome here!

Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones and Carol Stephenson

First Unitarian Church of San Jose

Sidewalk Riding Not a Crime

Re "More Fun With Bike Tickets" (Letters, June 11): Jean S.'s letter to the editor sounds like a regrettable bad experience with CHP. I hope her husband won't let that one exceptional experience discourage him from bicycling. The city of San Jose's Bike Program is seeing more and more people try bicycling. Setting aside the carbon footprint benefits, bicycling is easy, cheap and fun. You don't have to sell your car or spend a fortune on a fancy bike or wear tight black shorts. A functional cruiser can be had for a few hundred bucks. Or just dust off the old bike in your garage. Try replacing one short car trip a week with a bike trip. You'll love it.

By the way, while the vast majority of public safety officers do a great job, it sounds like the CHP'er that stopped Jean's husband got one thing wrong: on San Jose streets it is NOT illegal to ride on sidewalks so long as you're riding the same direction as adjacent roadway traffic. State law allows cities to choose if they want to prohibit sidewalk bicycling. San Jose has not prohibited it.

That said, riding on streets is generally safer than sidewalks. If you do choose to ride on sidewalks, yield to pedestrians, and watch for cars turning at corners and driveways. To learn more, take one of San Jose's free Bicycling Skills Classes. Email me for more info: [ mailto:[email protected] ][email protected]

John Brazil

San Jose Bike/Pedestrian Program

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