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June 11, 2009

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month (Inclusion)

Patricia A. Kelly

President Barack Obama has declared June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. I received a copy of the proclamation from someone I believe disapproves. I’m not sure myself that it’s necessary, but it certainly brings to mind concepts such as fairness, inclusion, personal freedom, acceptance, respect, even integration.


My personal belief about homosexuality is that it is an inherent predilection, something that gay people are born with. In our generally free society, there are those who try out the lifestyle, or who practice bisexuality without being born gay, but, generally, people have no control over their attraction to those of the same sex.


My second personal belief is that homosexuality is harmless, something that should not be subject to discrimination or condemnation. There are sexual and emotional disturbances, pedophilia for example, that are dangerous. Homosexuality is not one of them.


Third, I don’t enjoy public sexual displays, heterosexual or homosexual. I think they’re rude.


As for the military rule of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” there is already a rule against sexual contact of any kind during active duty military assignments. There’s no reason it couldn’t apply to both heterosexual and homosexual military personnel. Homosexuals are not more likely than heterosexuals to disrupt military readiness with sexual peccadilloes


As for gay marriage, an excellent solution would be civil union for all couples, homosexual and heterosexual. Everyone could go to the courthouse to register their union, and then, if they wished, to church, to a marriage ceremony that honored their religious beliefs. If a particular church didn’t support gay marriage, that would remain a private matter.


That said, America’s strength comes from inclusion, from being a melting pot where people of different nationalities, religions, colors, genders and sexual orientations can join together to live in a productive society based on all of our core values.


Core values in the United States include personal freedom, opportunity to work and be paid for it, the opportunity to pursue personal happiness and to live and dress based on one’s religious faith, in safety, without suffering job, housing or educational discrimination.


The Civil Rights Movement, hate crime laws, feminism, affirmative action, and Gay and Lesbian Pride Month have arisen in our society because we have practiced discrimination instead of living by our core values.


In other words, we could have gotten along fine without all of them if we’d just behaved ourselves in the first place.


Because of my deep concerns about discrimination against Muslim Americans in the face of world terrorism, I was thrilled by President Obama’s speech last week in Saudi Arabia. It was a wonderful reminder that we are an inclusive society in the United States, and that right thinking Americans rue discrimination based upon color, gender or religion.


I’ve heard so much confusion about the core tenets of Islam, with people believing that Islam promotes terrorism, that I was delighted to hear our president quote the passage from the Koran that declares that killing one innocent is the as wrong as killing all the people in the world. That is the essential truth of Islamic belief, and reflects the beliefs of the vast majority of Muslims.


I’m glad to see President Obama reaching out to all of our enemies, reaffirming our core values, and offering a relationship of peace to those in the world willing to respect others and the rule of law. It’s time, after so much fighting, to openly make the attempt.


I am also pleased at his assertion that we, and our culture, deserve and demand respect and fairness as well. The authorization of the recent killing of Somali pirates who were holding our Merchant Marine captain hostage was a perfect complement to our peaceful overtures, an assertion that we, and our culture, also demand and deserve respect.


Strength, responsibility, fairness, inclusion – that’s the United States of America at it’s best.

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