I am submitting this letter in response to the editorial entitled “America: home of the free, unless you’re gay” written by Christian Ashlar which can be found on page 2 in Volume 79 Issue No. 8 of The Pacer dated Tuesday, October 24, 2006.
The author, I must agree, is correct. It is great to be a man in this country. Though, I’m sure that by 16 we have been more than educated on the finer points of puberty, or as Mr. Ashlar calls it: “what has gone crazy with our bodies.” I hope that we are all mature enough at this level of our education to use words such as ‘puberty,’ but the point of this letter is not to ‘nit-pick’—if you will—over the author’s mechanical and grammatical errors (though they are definitely present in the piece), but to challenge some of his statements.
At 18, we do sign papers regarding the Selective Service System, and though they do register us for the draft, this does not necessarily mean that we are to be inducted into the armed forces in a combat role. The draft is not only used for war-time, but also during any national emergency needing more than just the armed forces, National Guard, and its reserve. If it were to staff the military during a war, anyone disagreeing with that war we are fighting (I am referencing the statement first seen in the first full paragraph “…we sign papers that says the government can put a gun in our hand, send us wherever and order us to destroy our enemies.”) can be re-assigned to a non-combat role upon request. For a full run-down of the Selective Draft Laws look up Public No. 12, 65th Congress, c. 15, 40 Stat. 76. Also, to finish out the parts making reference to the military, though homosexuals are not allowed in the military, some are there, and no one has harmed them. One may claim this as untrue, but surely a complaint would have been filed. Hazing is not tolerated in any way, shape, or form toward any race, nationality, or persons of an alternate lifestyle in the United States Armed Forces.
The author claims in paragraph 7 that as a gay man “…your civil rights disappear almost completely.” Amendment XIV of the Constitution of the United States states that, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In short, everyone’s civil rights are guaranteed and are equally undeniable to all citizens of this country. Thus, the loss of a gay man’s civil rights is nothing more than a figment of his imagination. Perhaps there is discrimination being aimed at you, but it is unlawful, and you should file a complaint immediately, not claim that you have lost your civil rights.
As far as being “different” as the author put it, yes, being gay is most definitely different from the large majority of Americans, therefore, you are “different,” “unique,” or whatever word synonymous with the two aforementioned makes you happy. Also, what “blanket of security and legitimacy” is provided by marriage other than being lawfully committed to one person the rest of your life and being forced (unless there is a prenuptial agreement) to give up half of your belongings in the event of divorce? Can this “blanket” really exist when there is a 50 % divorce rate in the U.S.? Is it the fact that gays want spousal insurance benefits for their partners?
That isn’t something the government can regulate. Even if gay marriage is made legal in Tennessee and elsewhere, insurance companies are in no way legally obligated to give you and your partner a policy. You may then argue that this is discrimination, but a company can refuse service to anyone they choose, why should homosexuals be any different?
Mr. Ashlar uses the term “Bible-Beater” when he addresses, I am assuming, Christians (who oppose gay marriage), informing us that “now’s the part when you throw the Bible at me and begin to rant!” I find the term “Bible-Beater” incredibly distasteful and also very offensive. I don’t recall seeing publications in which words like “Fag,” have been used to address or label the gay community, so why use this term to define those who believe in God, His Son, and the Grace and Love of both? Surely my beliefs afford more respect than that term. The author then begins to portray the “Bible-Beaters” as hypocrites in paragraph 13. Well, as a Gentile (non-Jewish believer) I do not observe these laws, so it would have been a good way to discredit those you apparently view as adversaries, had they been Jewish. However, since the author seems to love using Bible verses in his compositions, I believe I will place one in mine: “Do not lie with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22. Hop on into the Pool of Hypocrisy, Mr. Ashlar, the water’s just fine. You’re right, that mirror would be more useful, wouldn’t it?