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The rhetoric I’ve read from some other Stars and Stripes readers toward homosexuals is misguided and unfounded. Homosexuality is not a choice any more than heterosexuality is a choice.

If it is against your religious convictions and your moral code, that is your business and your right — although I disagree with you vehemently. Nobody is forcing you to like it or accept it into your personal life, but you should not be allowed to dictate how your colleagues should live and whom they should love. That is neither your business nor your right. One of the pervading themes throughout our great history is that every American is free and equal in the eyes of the law. Sexual preference has absolutely no bearing on one’s capability to serve his or her country with dignity, professionalism and courage.

Finally, I have some news for the opponents of the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell": You’re already serving with homosexuals. You’re already showering and sharing a living space with them. A homosexual may have risked his or her own life to save yours. They’ve been your shipmates and your battle buddies for years. They’ve fought with honor, and many have died courageously in support of the mission. They are soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, and they love their country just as much as you do.

The policy of specifically excluding and expelling professional, dedicated and excellently qualified men and women from service to their country simply because of their romantic lives is a monumental failure of the U.S. government and military, and a disservice to the citizens we serve.

Mary E. BellomoMacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

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