I agree that the conflict between the ROTC department and university policy needs clarification ("Students fight military policy" Feb. 14). This conflict was revealed when two homosexual students, Michael Clifton-Harter and Jonathan Bierner, attended their first day of class in military science. I once sat in Military Science 201; in fact I have graduated from the ROTC program. This was not without discrimination, though. I was denied a four-year ROTC scholarship that I had competed for and earned during basic training. This discrimination was because of my physical disability (I am legally blind in my right eye). Also, I am a Hispanic student and have dealt with racism for years. I have experienced discrimination within and outside the military. I know discrimination.
Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Bierner and Mr. Clifton-Harter, the university's policy does not run the military. The university is allowed to operate so long as it does not break federal law concerning military policy and the ROTC program. This law was last debated and guaranteed unchanged continuation by President Bill Clinton and Congress in 1993. One very important point which should be understood is the military must discriminate. The military must discriminate against possible recruits who are flatfooted, have respiratory problems, hearing loss, are too old, etc. America has benefited from this "lawful discrimination" by having our freedoms protected by the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military throughout the world. This brave pledge by each soldier is what guaranteed the First Amendment and civil rights for Michael and Jonathan. The military abides by the Uniform Code of Military Justice which has jurisdiction over city and state law, let alone university policy. This is necessary because the UCMJ carries over into war.
The single problem at the focus of this conflict is the qualification of the term "discrimination." State and federal discrimination laws cite race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and religion as the basis for unlawful discrimination. Mr. Clifton-Harter could not have been as offended at these "forms" as I was when he said, ". This issue could be the same, just replacing homosexuals with blacks or Hispanics." Mr. Clifton-Harter appears to be a racist in that he has attempted to replace a race, or national origin, with a behavior. I can not claim to be Oriental or a senior citizen without being challenged because I am not Ä it is obvious. Yet, every male across the nation can claim to be homosexual without challenge. No matter how it is named, changed, rationalized or redefined, this proves that it is the physical act or conduct, also called "behavior," that defines homosexuality. Female and male soldiers of all races and religions continue to protect the freedoms of all Americans, not just "the heterosexual portion of the population," as Mr. Bierner deceptively states. This "gay revolution" will help many people gain a better understanding that homosexuality is a choice of behavior Ä a choice of behavior that has nothing to do with race, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability.
Hispanic Army Soldier
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