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All discussions that I have seen on abstinence-until-marriage programs (“Missionary Position,” 10/25) carefully skirt the horrendous, truly vicious impact of such programs on gay people, who are ignored as if as if we didn’t exist. And to most of those people pushing these programs, we probably don’t exist (or they wish we didn’t).

Because same-sex marriage is nowhere legally authorized in this country at present, these programs, if taken at face value, cavalierly doom gay people to lifelong celibacy. This is just simply unacceptable.

If such programs are to be presented to general audiences—and certainly if under government auspices in public schools and elsewhere—and if those presenting them truly believe that sexual activity should be engaged in only by those who are married to each other, then they have a moral and ethical obligation, and probably a legal obligation as well, to advocate and to work for same-sex marriage. They cannot ethically simply ignore the gay young men and women in their audiences and consign them to a lifetime devoid of sex, as they are presently doing. We gays are not second-class citizens.

If they cannot stomach the idea of same-sex marriage (and, as the moral fascists that most of them are, they probably cannot), then they have an inescapable ethical obligation to attend to the needs of gays by including safe-sex instruction in their program. And if that is presented for gay people, why not for straight people? They will have backed themselves into a corner. Their entire ideology badly requires some rethinking.

Of course, attempts to recruit gays into heterosexuality are just not “on the screen.”

So if it is to be abstinence until marriage, then it must be marriage for all, gay and nongay alike. There is no other acceptable alternative. Are advocates of abstinence until marriage prepared to follow their road to where it inescapably leads? I rather doubt it.

Palisades