Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t judge

Posted Dec. 23, 2008, at 7:12 p.m.

In light of recent developments at the U.N., it’s time to speak frankly about my sexuality. A few folks have speculated, a number of them to my face, just exactly what my preferences are. So here goes. I’m straight.

If that surprises you, I understand. After all, I’ve been single for decades of my adult life, I don’t date, and I’ve owned a number of Subarus.

Having no public relationships and a history of Subaru ownership aren’t what folks fear, though, when they obsess about someone else being a lesbian. No, folks who speculate on the sexuality of another person are stuck on how that person has sex.

Ick! Grown adults, some of them lawmakers, some of them clergy, fixated on the private goings-on of another grown-up or two.

When we were kids and my mom would overhear someone talking about sex, she’d say, “Get your mind out of the gutter.” Good advice if you ask me. I’d like to give that same advice to the world’s governmental organizations that believe sexuality is their business.

See, what folks do behind closed doors doesn’t affect any government or religious group or fighting force, but somehow those folks can’t stop daydreaming about what others do in private.

When a 50-year-old Nigerian man was sentenced to death by stoning after he admitted to having had homosexual sex, his judge couldn’t possibly have pictured stone after stone tortuously falling against the man until one finally killed him. But he must’ve considered the offense. Only a beast would execute people so violently without carefully weighing the gravity of the “transgression.”

And in Iran, the judges must see the broken necks of their hanged prisoners. Sadistic judges believe that executing individuals who engage in private consensual sexual acts is preferable to the “crime.” Or is the judge just having a little trouble of his own when he considers these behaviors?

The idea of punishing someone for doing things that are — quite frankly — nobody’s business is repulsive. Makes you want to go over there and ask those folks exactly what they’re thinking. But we know what they’re thinking. And it clearly makes them extremely uncomfortable.

Seven countries in the world have the death penalty for sodomy; and Friday at the U.N. the U.S. stood deplorably silent while truly civilized countries denounced this and other homophobic practices.

Sixty-six countries condemned the criminalization of homosexuality. But the U.S. refused to agree that “sexual orientation or identity should never be cause for any legal sanction such as execution, arrest or detention.”

We deserve a break, though; we don’t actually support the continued gay persecution by our buddies the Saudi Arabians or the not-so-chummy Syrians and Iranians or the 70-plus other homophobic countries. No, it’s because the U.S. still punishes some gays and our government doesn’t want to stop.

As a country, we only recently decriminalized homosexuality. With Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays couldn’t be charged with a crime for engaging in consensual sex. 2003! And the ruling wasn’t even unanimous! There were three judges, still on the bench, who thought locking up gays was OK! And it wasn’t just Texas that had its mind in the gutter. Because of Lawrence v. Texas, boudoir privacy in two other states and under federal jurisdiction was finally guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and under the equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

This ruling should have made signing the U.N. agreement easy. But it wasn’t, because our federal government still violates the Constitution.

In 2005, to keep an eye on the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Congress commissioned a report.

Congress learned that the number of gays discharged plummets at time of war, proving the hypocrisy of the rule when retention becomes an issue. Keeping a higher percentage of gays to kill or die proves that it isn’t gay practice that threatens the military. The expulsions are about the thought of it; and according to the commission, it’s sheer prejudice that allows the military to “also punish people for having a gay or lesbian identity, even if they remain celibate.”

What are they thinking about when they expel gay folks from the military?

Oh wait; we know what they’re thinking.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.”

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