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A TIME, PLACE FOR GAY DISCUSSION

I have watched with interest the recent struggle the gay community has put forth to be accepted and given rights not only locally but on a national level. I have listened to their plea to end hate and extend love and tolerance. I went to the Salt Lake City School Board meetings and listened to the debates. From these I would like to extend some observations.

As I listened to the school board hearings, it was fascinating to witness the behavior of the opposing sides. The "gay advocates" were demanding respect and recognition. They would applaud and cheer those who promoted their point of view and would jeer and ridicule those who had differing ideas. The "opposition to gays" were mostly very quiet and courteous. There was very little "gay" bashing but much bashing by the gay advocates. It seemed that the they believed in tolerance and acceptance for their point of view only.Even though many tendencies may be inborn, the indulgence in any tendency is a choice. The message given by the gay community is that people are compelled to indulge in whatever sexual craving they feel. I would take issue with this idea. There are millions and millions of people who have lived out productive and fulfilling lives without ever having acted out their private urges. The sexual drive is extremely strong but it is not like the urge to breathe or eat: Satisfying a sexual urge is not prerequisite to leading a worthwhile, productive and happy life.

Self-restraint in homes, businesses and society at large, if practiced by all, would promote a productive, courteous civilization and prevent anarchy. I believe our society is troubled in part because too many people have lost the desire to deny themselves any cravings, declaring these to be beyond their control and seeking justification and recognition for their behavior as "constitutional rights," only if we exercise self-discipline and personal courtesy in all aspects of life will we have a safe society where all groups of people will truly have rights.

There is great difference between the tendency toward a particular lifestyle and the open indulgence and promotion of that same lifestyle. The tendency to be gay or straight should not have any bearing on competency for jobs, military status, public service, etc. But bear in mind that any personal sexual lifestyle preferences should be kept private; discussion or promotion of these are completely inappropriate in a classroom, public or professional setting.

I am puzzled by the comparison that the gay community makes with the civil rights movement and the ethnic equality that movement has so rightly endorsed. Gays are not an ethnic group. They are a group choosing to endorse and/or practice a sexual lifestyle. I don't understand why they think they should get any special recognition or treatment for this.

Mature people can disagree on points of view and still be courteous to and even good friends with those whose ideas differ from theirs. Many people do not agree with the gay lifestyle and rationale. I believe that most people who disagree with the gay lifestyle do not hate gays. Many (including myself) are friends with gay people. They only ask that those who advocate and/or practice this gay lifestyle please have the courtesy to keep this activity and discussion of it private where it belongs.

Teri Croft

Salt Lake City