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Marion Barry's early support for gay rights

Marion Barry did a lot of great things in his lifetime, but he was human, with challenges like everyone else. It's too bad that his drug addiction led to so much notoriety that overshadowed all the good he had done. The racists who hated the longtime District of Columbia mayor had plenty of fuel. ("Marion Barry dies at 78; Washington, D.C., mayor, civil rights leader," Nov. 23)

Barry was among the earliest big-city mayors to support gay and lesbian rights, participating in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. I know because I was there.

We started out from Dupont Circle and surrounded the hotel where anti-gay leader Anita Bryant was speaking. She was unable to leave the hotel for several hours. It was a cold day.

Barry had an open-door policy with the gay and lesbian community. We know of the political gains he made for us.

George Wedemeyer, San Diego

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