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Volume 72, Issue 47, Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Opinion

Gay marriage should be allowed

Zach Lee
Opinion Columnist 

As far as the federal government is concerned, homosexuals are no better than traitors or spies.

Just ask Dean Hara.

Hara married former Congressman Gerry E. Studds, D-Mass., the first openly gay member of Congress, after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004. But Hara is ineligible to receive any portion of Studds's pension, estimated to be $114,337 annually, because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not allow the federal government to recognize the marriage. Aside from same-sex spouses, the only people who can be denied pensions are those who have been convicted of treason or espionage.

That's not right.

As political accusations swirl around former Congressman Mark Foley's, R-Fla., inappropriate conduct with a young male congressional page, it bears mentioning that Studds was censured by the House in 1982 for having a sexual relationship with a young male page.

And though the actions of both men were a bit sleazy and catastrophically embarrassing, they weren't treasonous.

Neither is same-sex marriage.

Every American, regardless of his or her moral position on gay marriage, should be outraged at the way same-sex spouses are lumped in with Benedict Arnold and Julius Rosenberg.

Even if homosexuality is the most flagrant breach of natural moral codes, to even suggest that it is in any way similar to betraying George Washington or passing top secret information to the Soviets is disgusting. 

Hara's situation is a wake-up call to Congress and an opportunity for Americans to realize that the debate over gay marriage has become too political. It's always been a hot-button issue, but the fact that gay men can be lumped in with those who would sell out America for 30 pieces of silver ? however indirectly they are grouped ? is a sobering sign of where the debate may lead.

But now is the time for America to admit to itself that homosexuals deserve rights, not only because they are people but because they are patriots. They are congressmen who serve the people of the United States, and they are sailors and soldiers, prepared to die for the people of the United States. More than 11,000 service members who have been discharged under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy can attest to that.

As a people, we should take this opportunity to step back and analyze the politically charged actions of those who would call themselves statesmen, and we need to ask ourselves if the men who would put gay men in Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell are really looking out for this country, or if they are trying to divide Americans for their own political gain.

Send comments to dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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