One of the examples offered by Charles Ratliff ("Military discriminates against homosexuality for a reason," March 10) to support his thesis that the military's objections to homosexuality have only to do with individuality in fact disproves it. Not only does the U.S. military tolerate conscientious objectors in its ranks: In the Vietnam War era and for decades before, the Selective Service System had a classification, 1A-O, specifically for conscientious objectors. I was a Vietnam era 1A-O assigned to basic training in the unit maintained for that purpose at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX, and can assure you that rather than being harassed for our beliefs, we were taken very seriously by Regular Army personnel assigned to us, perhaps more seriously than some units because our drill sergeants knew they might have to depend on 1A-O medics to save their lives on the battlefield. Except for that and exemption from weapons training, our military service was not different from that of other U.S. soldiers of the time.
Homosexuality is not incompatible with military service, as demonstrated by routine incorporation of gays in other armies of the World. Intolerance of homosexuality in the American military mirrors intolerance of homosexuality in American society at large.
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