Who is to judge chosen lifestyle?

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Prejudice’s many definitions include “unreasonable hostile feelings toward or hostile opinions of a broad group of people.” Discrimination may be defined as “making an unreasonable distinction against a category of people.” And, hypocrisy can be defined as “a pretense of having a virtuous character and moral principles.”

I know very few people who will admit to personal prejudice, or who openly practice discrimination. But I know of many people who pretend to have virtuous character and moral principles.

Our U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Alaska Constitution all declare we are created equal. Sadly, in many ways, that isn’t true. Some are born destitute, some with terrible physical defects, syndromes and handicaps, and some are born heterosexual, bisexual, asexual or homosexual. The latter is not bad, per se, but if you were in that group, you would know prejudice, discrimination and hypocrisy, up close and personal.

There are those in our society, who believe homosexuality is a sinful, chosen lifestyle. Only a masochist (one who obtains gratification from self-imposed mental anguish and personal degradation) would choose such a lifestyle in today’s society. I do not know any masochists.

I believe the entire international debate on the rights of homosexuals could be helped by the choice of a few words in defining how couples are legally joined. Many religious groups and some states define “marriage” as the legal bond between a heterosexual man and woman. Since the term “marriage” has been used historically in that way, why not adopt “civil union” (not “marriage”) as the term and method for obtaining the legal bond for a gay couple?

For employment benefits (in the Alaska debate), gay couples would then be legally bound as a partnership, not as a husband (male) and wife (female), in the purview of the state courts, and in the purview of all who object to gays being described as “married.”

Our Bill of Rights talks of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Who among you would wantonly deprive another citizen of those rights? It also suggests, according to the dictates of conscience, there is a mutual duty for all of us to practice restraint, love and charity toward each other. Who among you is so virtuous that you feel you “can cast the first stone” to deny the constitutional rights of others?

For many, I think a little introspection and less judging of others would be in order. And for those of you who think your God is perfect, remember that he/she created gays too, maybe as a way to control the population explosion, genocide(s) and abuse of unwanted children our planet is experiencing?

Richard Hahn


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