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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The straights are coming

Some brave San Franciscans risk being labeled bigots by worrying about THOSE people moving in: 

To walk down San Francisco's Castro Street -- where men casually embrace on sidewalks in the shadow of an enormous rainbow flag -- the neighborhood's status as "gay Mecca" seems obvious.

But up and down the enclave that has been a symbol of gay culture for more than three decades, heterosexuals are moving in. They have come to enjoy some of the same amenities that have attracted the neighborhood's many gay and lesbian residents: charming houses, convenient public transportation, safe streets and nice weather.

The integration of gay and straight is increasingly evident not only in the Castro District but across North America, from Chicago to New York City to Toronto, where urban revitalization is bringing new residents at the same time some gays are settling in other parts of cities or the suburbs -- such as the East Bay.

But some gay and lesbian residents of the Castro are worried that the culture and history of their world-famous neighborhood could be lost in the process, and they have started a campaign to preserve its character. The city, meanwhile, is spending $100,000 on a plan aimed at keeping the area's gay identity intact.

It's hard to even calculate how much damage those pushy heterosexuals will cause to the neighborhood. It would be one thing if they just intended to live quietly behind closed doors and not talk about their lifestyles. But what happens when they start walking around the neighborhood holding hands? What will that do to the children? And if they're allowed to get away with that, how long before they start pushing the heterosexual agenda? It's tempting to say San Francisco deserves the coming controversy because it has so long sought to be seen as a tolerant city. But surely not even that city should be punished this way.