In response to the troubles that gays are having with re-enlisting (“Tough for gay veterans to return to military,” article, Aug. 15), I really have one reaction: Many of them literally asked to get out, and prior-service soldiers are having the same difficulties — regardless of the reason behind their discharge.

Many of the gay soldiers I have encountered in my career have asked for the discharge and willingly packed their bags. I am not saying life was easy for them. Choosing to be a soldier/airman/Marine/sailor over living the life you want to live with who you want to live it with is a sacrifice.

In the end they told their command, they provided them with the evidence necessary. Proving that someone is gay is just as difficult as proving someone is committing adultery. You have to have real, unimpeachable proof and, contrary to what it may seem like, commanders are not skulking around bedroom windows to make sure what is going on in there is heterosexual.

I have also known many homosexuals whose orientation was not a secret among the troops. Their commanders had heard the rumors I am sure, but did anyone hunt them down and make them confess to their personal preferences? No. They were/are good soldiers and their choices didn’t affect their performance or unit morale.

And for those of you who will flare up at the mention of the word “choice” in such close quarters with “homosexual”: I am not saying that being gay is or isn’t a choice. How you live your life and who you share it with is, though — no matter your orientation. You can choose how you conduct yourself and your private life without letting everyone know about it.

Staff Sgt. Ambrosia Stockemer

Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany

Petition shows extent of push

I want to thank the author of the Aug. 11 letter “Gays’ legal arguments fail.” He has properly voiced the opinion of the majority of Americans and servicemembers.

He is correct, there has been a deliberate and concerted effort on the part of an underwhelming minority to convince the overwhelming majority that homosexual behavior is acceptable. If you do not believe it, refer to the online petition imploring “Sesame Street” to marry Bert and Ernie so “gay and lesbian kids who watch the show [will] feel better about themselves” (“Call for Bert, Ernie to wed misses point,” commentary, Faces, Aug. 13). How ridiculous, I do not know any 3-, 4- or 5-year-olds who have the capacity to decide whether they are gay. Homosexual behavior is by definition deviant, abnormal and unnatural.

While I do believe a person has the right to choose to be homosexual, that type of behavior should not be encouraged or legitimized. The organizations behind the “gay rights” movement do not want equality under the law; they want favoritism, as the letter writer so eloquently pointed out.

In the same edition of Stars and Stripes that included two letters attacking the letter writer and his majority opinion (“Gays contribute like all of us” and “Both swipes are undeserved”), Aug. 13, there appeared an article about a group demanding that the Department of Defense allow unmarried (per federal law) homosexual couples to have military ID cards and base housing (“Group sees flexibility for some same-sex benefits”). They do not ask these same provisions for unmarried, normal couples.

To the author of “Both swipes are undeserved”: Read “Gays’ legal arguments fail” again. The letter writer is not suggesting the military ignore the commander in chief; he is suggesting the American public resist the president’s liberal agenda.

As for my opinion on gays in the military, I do not believe that type of behavior lends itself to good order and discipline. “The image of a disciplined and committed Airman is incompatible with the extreme, the unusual.” Air Force Instruction 36-2903.

Master Sgt. Jay Messinger

Ali Base, Iraq

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