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I am writing in reference to the insightful June 29 letter “Gone far enough on gay rights.”

“I’m neither for nor against gay marriage; I’m truly sick and tired of hearing about it,” the letter writer claims, citing the June 26 front-page article “Loving without the lie: Gay couple looks forward to repeal of ‘don’t ask.’ ” If that’s the case, why does he continue to ramble on about the homosexual lifestyle?

The writer goes on to say: “Gays have the right to marry in some states, the right not to be discriminated against at a job. … What more do they want?” The ignorance of these statements alone warrants more coverage of this debate.

“Most of the members of our armed forces don’t care to read about another troubled gay couple living in the shadows for fear of losing their jobs under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” the writer states. I am sure that after months and months of research and polling conducted by the writer, he is able to speak for “most” of the armed forces.

No person, regardless of race, religion or sexual preference, should ever be discriminated against. We should be living in a country where everyone is treated as an equal; we are not. If a few articles in Stars and Stripes serve as a reminder of this injustice, I have no problem with that.

Staff Sgt. Marcus Caruso

Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, Iraq

Plan ahead, celebrate safely

With great fanfare, we celebrate our nation’s independence on the Fourth of July thanks to our brave soldiers now and then. During this exciting time, it’s important to keep safety in mind.

I state my concern because I was hit head-on by a drunken driver in 1992 when I was 16. I had paralysis, and numerous dislocated and broken bones. I also remained in a coma for four months.

Surgery, medication and therapy became part of my teenage life. I relearned how to talk and walk, and my hearing capabilities are damaged.

I became partners with law enforcement to speak and teach teens to be responsible when drinking. I also send letters to newspapers advising readers to not drive drunk. Soldiers need to know the importance of staying sober behind the wheel.

You don’t have to be “falling down drunk” to be a threat to yourself or others on the road. The Feb. 17 article “Atsugi sailor indicted on manslaughter, DUI charges” proved that. [According to police] the charged petty officer first class had a 0.03 blood alcohol level at the scene of the crash.

Japan knows the danger of driving after drinking. A driver is drunk in the U.S. if his BAC is 0.08 or higher, but a driver is drunk in Japan if his BAC is 0.03 or higher.

There is no use in driving after drinking alcohol. Driving after drinking may have grave effects for yourself and somebody else, as we have learned.

For this holiday, I urge those hosting gatherings to designate sober drivers before drinking begins. Turn to public transportation if no driver remains sober. Either method will give you a ride to your designated spot safely. Celebrate the freedom America has today and for years to come.

Lori Martin

Tracy, Calif.

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