LETTERS: Keeping private acts private


Lee Strang would like to maintain criminal laws against what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom and I applaud him for being honest enough to admit it. For my part, I will admit that I am in favor of banning his brand of superstitious, bellicose religiosity. We are all harmed by such zealotry, including Strang himself. Indeed, I think that I should not be forced to raise my children in a world where ignorance like his continues to go unchecked. Perhaps I could get a majority of the Cambridge City Council, if not the state legislature, to agree with me.

Fortunately for both of us, the enlightened, “agnostic” interpretation of the constitution that Strang so despises seems to be gaining ground. So neither of us is likely to get our wish.

— Daniel Weiner, 1L

The saddest and sickest part of Lee Strang’s outdated condemnation of gay rights is his claim that children must be shielded from the “evil” ways of gay men and lesbians. Children are not born with such venom in their hearts or such stupidity in their minds. Only by teaching kids to be homophobic do people perpetuate the ignorance and hatred that have cost gays and lesbians our freedom, our happiness and our lives for centuries.

Know this, Mr. and Mrs. Strang — when I have children of my own, I will teach them that it is hateful bigots such as yourselves who are most to blame for the weaknesses in the fabric of American society, and for our society’s continuing failure to treat all Americans with equal dignity and respect.

— Geoffrey Upton, 3L

After three years of reading perennially homophobic and hateful opinion columns published in The RECORD, I am tired of the negativity. When was the last time anyone wrote anything POSITIVE about any group of people in The RECORD? So, here is my attempt at promoting a queer-positive, gay-positive, and, yes, sex-positive law school. And I’ll even make it sensationalistic — always a plus for newspapers.

SODOMY KICKS BUTT! That’s right — it’s fun and pleasurable and healthy if done in a safe and consensual fashion. It makes people happy if performed respectfully and lovingly. And, even better, sodomy is effective birth control for those sodomistically-inclined breeders out there.

I therefore invite all law students, straight or gay, who have ever engaged in sodomy — e.g., fellatio, cunnilingus, mutual masturbation, anal sex, rimming or anything else that isn’t vanilla, heterosexual vaginal penetration by a penis — to stand up and proclaim the joys of sodomy.

— Janson Wu, 3L

When people ask me if I like Harvard Law School, the answer is generally “no,” or on a good day, “not so much.” When pressed for details, however, I’m left groping to explain the stifling, oppressive atmosphere that is HLS. But Lee Strang has saved me from all that. Now I can carry around his “‘Private’ acts, public harm” column and whip it out the next time some poor unsuspecting soul asks me what’s wrong with Harvard Law School.

But honestly, I’m not sure what Strang is so upset about. He has managed to position himself in a place that’s anything but a queer bastion. It’s not like HLS offers a gay rights course, or has a single out professor, or bothered to stand up to discriminatory military recruiters. Perhaps if HLS allowed for a little more rational discussion about gays, The RECORD could free up the space its letters and opinion pages devote seemingly every other week to exposing various HLS students’ irrational fears of gay sex.

— Holly Lewis, 1L

In his Feb. 20 RECORD opinion column, Lee Strang argues that the Supreme Court should not bar states from proscribing homosexual sodomy, an act that somehow harms society as well as those who practice it. Strang believes sodomy is harmful because it contravenes Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Corinthians. His apparent call for a legal system based on Christian morality negates the worth and dignity of those who do not follow the New Testament.

Moreover, rather than “proving” that homosexual conduct is immoral, the passages he quotes prove only that the apostle Paul was an intolerant bigot. After all, this is the same moral visionary who declared that woman was created for man and is subordinate to him (See Corinthians 11:3-10). Should states enforce this edict as well? While the Bible in fact says very little about homosexuality (Jesus does not condemn it), it spends a lot of time on other practices, such as lying, adultery and divorce (Matthew 5:27-31). Should all these acts be criminal?

Perhaps more importantly, Jesus asks us not to judge others, in passages such as Matthew 7:1-6, Luke 6:37 and John 8:1-11. Truly pious behavior can only be the result of free choice, not obedience to laws. The point is not that we should follow Jesus and not Paul, but that a legal system that blindly follows the New Testament is both offensive and unworkable.

Contrary to Strang’s assertion, a society that fails to condemn homosexuality is not necessarily “agnostic” on moral questions. To the contrary, a society that protects private sexual conduct upholds the most moral of ideas: tolerance and individual freedom. Strang protests that failure by government to condemn sodomy interferes with his ability to raise his children (a closet believer in substantive due process?). If he is right, then it is equally true that a society that criminalizes sodomy interferes with my ability to teach my children (when I have them) the values of tolerance and liberty. After all, if my son turns out to be gay, I wouldn’t want him to think that his father considers a core part of his identity to be “evil.”

— John Thompson, 3L

In his discussion of the upcoming Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, “‘Private’ acts, public harm,” Lee Strang describes marital intimacy as “truly unique and beautiful.” As a married woman, I must say that I agree. I do not, however, share Strang’s desire to uphold misguided statutes that seek to criminalize other unique and beautiful forms of intimacy merely because the affection is shared between members of the same gender. I understand that Strang’s interpretation of Christianity leads him to the conclusion that homosexuality is wrong, and he is entitled to this opinion (he concedes that not all members of his faith would agree, ascribing this belief to “most Christians”). He is not, however, entitled to impose these private religious convictions on those who do not share in his personal conception of morality — and neither is the United States Supreme Court.

Our country was founded on principles of religious freedom and tolerance, principles that are upheld through the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the Constitution. And yet, Strang calls for the Court to “force [the] states to abide by” a Christian vision of society. Such a call stands in direct opposition with not only the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, but with the premise of “free will” that defines Christianity itself. If and when Justices of the Court use their power to condemn private behavior based on individualistic worldviews — whatever they may be — rather than established legal principles, it is then that we need be concerned about the potential for true “public harm.”

— Cristine Reynaert, 1L
and 48 others


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