I am writing to respectfully disagree with Mr. Don Desbien, whose letter of Nov. 22 made several spurious claims regarding the LGBT community and issues of concern to them.
Though I am proud to claim a western Kansas heritage, it saddens me to think that someone from an area I am so proud to be from can hold ideas like his in such high regard.
One of the claims made in the letter is the LGBT community of our state is campaigning for "special rights" and they "already have civil rights." Anyone who is denied the same rights provided by the same governments operating in their lives as every other person under those governments is being denied their civil rights.
Such is the case with the right to marry and the multiple benefits (tax breaks, health care coverage, hospital visitation of loved ones, etc.) that accrue to those allowed to marry.
Denying someone the same rights as their peers due to human characteristics is discrimination, not denial of "special" status. Such prejudice is as wrong now as discrimination based on skin pigments or gender (both things that occur according to the "law of nature"). The link to the video Ms. Applebee posted in the comments section under the online version of Mr. Desbien's piece has some interesting things to say about those ideas.
Further, our country does recognize "unjust laws" or laws passed, presumably by the majority, and set into the legal code, but which may not be ethical. Again, past cases of complete discrimination against a large segment of the population have been extensively documented.
To my knowledge, no one in our society actually possesses a copy of a so-called "Gay Agenda." I would appreciate the publishing of such a document if I am mistaken about this.
Finally, if memory and my reading comprehension serve, the Bible also says people could sell their daughters into slavery (Exodus 21:7), that if they take a second wife they should not diminish the food, clothing or "marital rights" of the first wife (Exodus 21:10), that we should put to death people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2-3), and that we should not touch pigskin (such as footballs may be made of) (Leviticus 11:7-8).
I wonder if Mr. Desbien is as clear about these matters as he purports to be about what God/nature intends about marriage. And if one wants to stick exclusively to the New Testament, in the chapter preceding the "become one flesh" line, Jesus urges his followers to remove their hands or feet if those body parts cause them to sin (Matthew 18:8-9).
I firmly believe that spewing disrespectful material as Mr. Desbien has done diminishes the good people of western Kansas who can easily go beyond the "tolerance" he claims but does not demonstrate, and offer compassion, civility and a fair exchange of rational ideas. This is the heritage of the region I am proud to claim, and this is why I am compelled to respond.