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Student speaks in support of GSA

This item originally appeared in the May 5, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

Dear Editor,

I would like to sincerely thank you for running the article on the Louisiana Tech Gay Straight Alliance in the last edition of The Tech Talk. I'm sure that this, along with other efforts, will be beneficial to the continued growth and gradual acceptance of this worthy organization.

There are, however, a number of individuals at Tech who do not share my sentiments. They feel that such an organization does not belong at Louisiana Tech, and have shown their distaste by ripping down GSA flyers. It is these students I address in the remainder of this article.

I have heard a number of reasons for tearing down GSA flyers, and I will address each of these in turn.

Many people tear down GSA fliers because they find them offensive. The first thing I would say to these people is: why? Have you ever stepped back and actually thought about what it is you have against the homosexual community? Are you acting out of a hatred that was taught to you growing up? Do you have personal issues in this area? If so, I would encourage you, rather than mindlessly ripping down a sign, which doesn't really do you any good, to attend a GSA meeting. The purpose of the group, as stated in last week's article, is to provide a forum in which these things can be openly discussed. I've been to one of this group's meetings, and can attest to the fact that they are very open and friendly. They will not turn you away.

Also, think of it this way. How would you feel if someone ripped down one of your club's signs because they found it offensive? For example, let's pretend that you're a member of a campus religious group. What if I went around tearing down your BCM, ACTS, or Wesley signs because I found them offensive? Would you be upset? I'm guessing that you would. Should you be? Absolutely. That being said, how do you think GSA members feel when you tear down their signs.

I have heard it said that the GSA has no right to be here. Let me remind you that this is a public university, supported by goverment funding. Since this is the case, all the rights entitled to us as Americans are in place at Tech. One of these is "the right of the people peaceably to assemble," as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, the right to assemble is guaranteed to all U.S. citizens in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

However, if the Constitution isn't good enough for you, I'll cite something a bit closer to home. According to Section Four of the Louisiana Tech University 2004-2005 Student Handbook, students are guaranteed "the right to develop individual potential to the best of that person's ability (4.02:02)," "the right to inquire, discuss, listen and evaluate (4.02:03)," and "the right to freedom of speech and assembly subject to requirements for the maintenance of order and the protection of the rights of others (4.02:07)."

The purpose of the GSA is to provide students with a forum to discuss issues regarding sexual orientation and to help them in this area. This is in accord with the first two rights cited above. Also, since the GSA has not violated public order laws or the rights of others, they are in accord with the third. Therefore, according to the statutes of Louisiana Tech, the GSA does in fact have a right to be here, as is evidenced by their approval and backing by the Tech administration and SGA.

I have also heard it said that the GSA is here to "force homosexuality on Tech students." I'm going to give you a second to think about this and see just how ludicrous this assertion is...

There. Did you think about it? How can you "force" homosexuality on someone short of engaging in same gender sexual abuse or rape? Has the GSA done this? No. Furthermore, the name of the ogranization is the Gay Straight Alliance for a reason. Heterosexuals are also welcome to join the group. And they join of their own volition, not because of any kind of coercion.

Finally, I have heard that people tear down GSA fliers because they are "un-Christian." I'll remind you again that Tech is a public, and therefore secular, institution. Tech supports many Christian organizations, one of which, the Association of Catholic Tech Students, I am a member of. Christian groups have every right to be here. So does the GSA.

In closing, I would like to remind my fellow Christians who have torn down GSA signs for religious reasons of a piece of Scripture which they would do well to reflect upon. "Stop judging, that you may not be judged" (Matthew 7:1). Is it Christian to hate someone because of their sexual orientation?

I hope you'll consider what I've said and take it to heart.

Caleb Baumgardner

Senior

English and theatre major


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