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Don't treat gays like second-class citizens

August 05, 2003

Dear Editor:

I would like to express my opinion on the current gay marriage debate. Several leading journalists, broadcasters and others have written and spoken about the evils of homosexual marriage and how it demonstrates the declining morals of our society and the falling away from our Christian heritage. Some even go so far to state that a gay agenda is under way to destroy states' rights, brainwash our children and undermine our Christian values.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Some homosexuals are very militant and come across too strong even for my liberal viewpoint, but the majority just want to have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

I grew up in a very fundamentalist environment. Anyone who even appeared gay was picked on and made fun of. In college, I made friends with several individuals who were gay, and it opened my eyes. They were just like me, except for their sexual orientation. They wanted the same things out of life that I wanted, such as a long-term relationship with a loving partner, a good job with benefits, a strong desire to fit in and belong. We had to keep their sexual orientation a secret due to the college's policy of not allowing openly gay lifestyles. I watched as some of them tried to be something they were not born to be. I watched as they felt alienated and ashamed for being what they were.

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During my time in the Air Force I met several nurses who told me sad stories of gay couples who suffered needlessly because of the denial of gay marriages. When one partner in a gay relationship is hospitalized, the other partner does not have the same rights as I do if my wife is hospitalized. If the partner is unconscious or unable to make an informed decision, the other partner cannot make it for him/her because the law does not recognize their relationship.

Why should an individual be denied the same benefits my family and I receive because I am heterosexual and they are not. If an individual is in a relationship with someone their work benefits should extend to their partner as they do to mine.

Homosexuals are not second-class citizens and should not be treated as such. They should be allowed to marry and have their relationships recognized by society. The endorsement of gay marriages goes beyond religious opinion to legal rights. Will the state allow gay couples to legally marry so that the law recognizes their union, and thus allow them the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples?

Tyrone and Theresa Hobbs

Junction City

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