Misinformed on facts

Is it April Fools Day? Was I reading The Onion? My jaw is still dropping after reading Ben Heaton’s letter in praise of anti-miscegenation laws (“not practiced by the majority of civilized people?”) and, by extension, the effort to prevent gays and lesbians from legally marrying in this country.

Pardon me for saying but I think Mr. Heaton was born too late, a century or so, I would think. His devotion to Plessy v. Ferguson (by the way, Mr. Heaton, this ruling was indeed disputed and overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education decision) and to separation of the races is more in tune with 1904, not 2004. Perhaps Mr. Heaton would have us return to an earlier “traditional meaning of marriage” in which only people with property or royal interests were married or when women were considered commodities who went from being the property of her father to the property of her husband.

Just as the majority of civilized people (my definition) have come to accept interracial marriage as a basic human right, so I believe people will come to accept equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Though I imagine that in 2104 someone will write to the Campus Times and pine for the old days when marriage was restricted to heterosexual couples, interracial couples included.

bob dardano

Class of 1977

Past housing was successful

I am writing in response to the article by Jamie Sokol on Nov. 18. As an alumnus I enjoy the CT online and as a 1999 grad I was fortunate not to have been at the university while freshman housing was a part of the college experience. Though I was on a predominantly freshman hall in Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls my first year, some of the most enlightening experiences I had as a freshman were with upper-class hallmates and friends.

The first enlightenment was the first day the upper-class members arrived on campus. I came from a small town and a high school where class separation and school spirit was embedded. I dreaded having seniors on my hall … I knew what seniors like to do to freshman.

The open, forthright and inclusive upper-class hallmates, including my D’Lions, amazed me instantly and I realized immediately that this place was different. It was not a place where you were judged by your year of graduation but by your dedication to the pursuit of knowledge, interests and passions. It was a place where you can stand on your own without the cliques or subjugation of high school. Moreover, I knew then it was the place for me and that this is my college home.

Jamie’s article brought to the forefront the perils I feared when I read of the decision to move to housing by class over integrated housing. The fear that the student body would be not one college community but segregated subsets based on birthright. I hope that ResLife will realize that communities and class pride can be built through better means and return to an atmosphere of academics, athletics, and adventure and away from childish cliques.

Eric Stearns

Class of 1999

True reasoning shown

Within the first sentence of the article “Marriage debate not a new one” my jaw had dropped and I was ready to rip this narrow-minded, ignorant, religious fanatic apart. A few sentences later the all too familiar sound of comprehension escaped from my mouth. When I finished, at once I knew that the article was both brilliantly witty and bound to cause controversy.

However, there are some disjointed factors in the article’s argument that present obstacles in the way of sending a clear message. For example, the dog breeding section is only weakly linked to the argument, but more importantly it brings something detrimental to the article. Mentioning gay marriage in the same context as dog breeding reminds people of the argument that if gays are allowed to marry, “what’s next, humans marrying dogs?” I would suggest steering away from references carrying both negative connotations and dubious relevant connections to the cause.

Another misstep is the lack of readership awareness, which we see plaguing this article ad nauseam. The writer should constantly think of who will read the article and how they can be reached the best. It seems that Ben Heaton momentarily forgot his audience. This article would be best understood by intelligentsia. At first glance one would assume that the readership of the Campus Times, being the newspaper at one of the finest universities in America, is composed of intellectuals. However, this is unfortunately not true, proved by the incapacity to see the simple message of the article. Since its publication, I have had discussions and overheard rants by people who felt this article was about interracial marriages, championing fundamentalism or even religion. Readers were utterly unable to sift past the witty, if sometimes clumsy, argument to uncover the main message. In the midst of all the crying, screaming and gasping, the university community has entirely drowned the message they declare that they champion.

So, I have done the work for all those who are unable to understand nuances of our language. The message is twofold – in citing Supreme Court rulings that have been overturned, and historical traditions changed by time, Ben Heaton is stating that even though liberals may have lost the recent battle, time has shown that the liberal cause is winning the war. The second and main part of the message is to show how ridiculous such arguments seem, when taken out of their own time. The various arguments written within this article were all thought to be logical and legitimate 50 years ago. By juxtaposing these arguments of differing eras, today’s seemingly logical arguments against gay marriage are shown to be extensions of polarized historical debates overturned by time and exposed as outrageous. For future reference, I encourage the readership to live up to the goals of our institution of higher learning and I expect the writer to have more audience awareness.

Eli Hale

UR Graduate Student

Bigotry made apparent

I found the article on “Marriage debate not new one” to be offensive as well as distasteful. I am appalled at the bigotry that is allowed to be displayed in the Campus Times newspaper.

Who are you to decide who I marry? As well as insult black women?

I find it ironic that there is an article about attracting minorities to attend UR. If you keep allowing this bigotry, you not only will have a problem attracting minorities to come to here, but also retaining the minorities that are presently students here.

michelle robinson

Class of 2006

Conveying the right message

Ben Heaton’s “Marriage Debate Not New One” is a powerful article that is likely to rouse intense feelings of outrage at first, followed by deep thought. The arguments made against interracial marriages were absurd and repulsive, and yet the majority of Americans were strongly opposed to it a half-century ago. Today, the majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriages, and the arguments against it are strikingly similar to those against interracial marriages. The problem is that most Americans have not made the connection.

Liberals need to do a better job of convincing Americans to support same-sex marriages. Arguments such as the need for social equality and tolerance do not resonate with conservatives who will quickly dismiss these arguments as the same liberal rhetoric that they hear all the time. To convince moderates and even conservatives to be more supportive of same-sex marriages, liberals must get into the conservative mindset in order to address the arguments made against these marriages.

Heaton’s article does just that. It confronts a lot of the issues that moderates and conservatives have used to argue against same-sex marriages such as: Christianity says it is wrong [God placed different races on different continents for a reason], civil unions are good enough [separate but equal is good enough], it is unnatural and do

es not occur in nature [Labradors and German Shepherds do not mate], children raised by a multiracial couple would be confused and not fit in, and if it is openly accepted then it will infest our nation and destroy our moral foundation. These are so absurd that Heaton needed to do nothing more than mention each argument to make his point.

The arguments made a half-century ago against interracial marriages are so similar to those made today against same-sex marriage that it does not make sense to support one without supporting the other. Assuming that the majority of Americans today support interracial marriages, the majority of Americans should support same-sex marriages. It is up to the liberals to convey Heaton’s message to the rest of American. The saddest part of the article is that in some parts of the country Heaton’s article would not be considered a satire but instead be taken as the truth.

Quang Luong

Class of 2003

Women should be chaste

I am one who represents the philosophy of many women who, if they had read Jim Mack’s article on feminism, would applaud his courage and boldness. Every response I have read to his article is wrought with insensible jargon and lack of reason, especially comments from the so-called self-wise. I come from an environment and religious philosophy where men respect women. I don’t have to worry about hearing sexually provocative language, obscene language or the name of God taken in vain. I don’t have to worry about having to inadvertently view placed advertisements for drag shows. No respectable school in my geographical area allows the propagation and showing of pornography. Both are productions that contribute to the defamation and degradation of women. Covering one’s body shows respect for one’s self and to others. Chastity shows the strength of human character and goodness, a beauty that can never be had by women who view themselves as sexual objects. I have healthy self-esteem, and a confidence that is deeply rooted by my understanding that I know who I am and where I come from. When women choose to be promiscuous, they lose their freedom to be free from the worries of STDs, from being pregnant, from inward depression, and from the opportunity to have the attention of honest, trustworthy and noble men.

Melanie Smith

UR Nursing Student

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