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Lifting Ban on Gays in Military

November 23, 1992

In response to "Clinton to Stress Conduct as Key for Gays in Military," Nov. 13:

With regard to gays in the military, the issue is definitely not "letting gays and lesbians in." Gays already are in the military--in every service, at every level, and in large numbers. Nor is the issue sexual conduct. Sexual harassment or sexual conduct on the job--between men and women or between members of the same sex--is inappropriate and will remain so.

The real issue is being known to be gay. The time is past when gays and lesbians can be forced to remain in the closet solely for the comfort of those in the service who may be bigoted or undereducated. The difficulties raised by the military Establishment are the same as those posed when the armed forces eliminated discrimination based on race. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is just as irrational.

I applaud Bill Clinton's expressed resolve to eliminate discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. I hope he will not be distracted by sham issues from people whose considerations will only perpetuate an ineffective and unjust policy.

JOEL SAFRANEK

West Hollywood

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