Dear editor:

I am a homosexual. I have been one my entire life, some might say, even though I was married to a woman and had a child. But when I came out about ten years ago I signed on to the homosexual agenda [Letters, July 18].

Actually that isn’t true. I was 30 when I came out and not eager to embrace what I still perceive as the gay stereotypical lifestyle. I didn’t look good with a heavy mustache or permed hair, so I knew I couldn’t be gay like them, them being the Village People of course. And I did not see myself as the activist type. Being born in 1964 placed me apathetically between baby boomer and Generation X-er, and I was happy to leave the homosexual agenda to those who had some idea of what that agenda was.

Around that time I worked for a prominent agency in the federal government as a lawyer. Because I had a child, most of my colleagues naturally assumed that I was straight like them. Even when I was actively seeking contributions for the D.C. AidsWalk. I had a boss so oblivious to my sexuality that he told me he didn’t want to put his telephone number on the registration sheet for the walk because he didn’t want a bunch of fags calling him. That’s a direct quote. I wasn’t looking to be an out lawyer with the backwards government when I joined this agency.

Gay people have but one agenda. It’s the same as everybody else. The right to live our lives, and pursue happiness, and to not have to deal with hateful or ignorant bosses, merchants, and yes, Supreme Court justices.

The original 1986 Supreme Court case, Bowers v. Hardwick, overturned by this recent decision was a primitive decision based on a more primitive law. You don’t have to like what I do in the privacy of my bedroom. But remember, I don’t much like what you do in the privacy of yours either. And that’s my right, just like it is yours. But having that privacy is also my right.

I have an unpopular view on gay marriage for a gay man. I don’t believe in it. But I still have a very difficult time seeing past the government’s granting of benefits to any couple based on a religious pairing. How that doesn’t violate the First Amendment is beyond me. So, Justice Scalia, thanks for issuing a dissenting opinion that made people–all people, gay and straight, and all over the world, a world that embraces gay people much more openly than the United States does–see exactly how disconnected from reality you are. This case has nothing to do with Congress’s horrid Defense of Marriage Act, and all you did was feed fuel to the conservative fire that would inappropriately put the religious definition of the word “marriage” into the Constitution.

For every gay person, opinion varies on issues like these. I’ve yet to meet a gay person who agrees with my view on marriage. And that’s OK. Because the only thing we as a unit have in common is that we have to live in a world so unwilling to recognize our right to pursue happiness, whatever that may be for each of us. Just like you.

Barry M. Freiman