I hope I'm not presuming too much in addressing a governor so
informally, but I did leaflet a precinct on your behalf when you were
running for county commissioner. My memory is that we were on a
first-name basis then.
I see in the newspaper that you vetoed LB215, a bill that would
have kept licensed realtors from discriminating against people because of
their sexual orientation. In your veto message you said you couldn't
support legal recognition of people "based upon sexual choices" they make.
I've got some simple-minded questions for you, Mike.
The "sexual choices" you talk about grow out of your belief that
gays and lesbians choose to be gays and lesbians? Right?
Which means you believe that gays and lesbians could have chosen
to be straight? Am I still following you on this?
Here's a really simple-minded question that's always interested
me: If gays and lesbians are the way they are because they choose to be,
are straights the way we are because we choose to be?
And if gays could have chosen to be straight, could straights have
chosen to be gay?
If your answer to all those questions is yes, Mike, then I've got
another for you. It's really simple-minded. It's also indelicate. I
hope you're not offended.
Here it is: When did you choose to be straight?
Still with me on this, Mike? When did you choose to be straight
instead of gay? It's an important choice, so surely you remember. When
did you decide?
And how did you decide? Did you just flip a coin? Did you
compile lists of advantages and disadvantages?
And then what? Did you have a coming-out party to let everyone
know you'd decided to be straight? Did you put a notice in the personal
Neither did I.
Because, like you I'll bet, I don't remember ever making such a
choice. I don't even remember knowing that I had the option of making
such a choice. In my ignorance of such things, I just assumed that I was
born to be straight in the same way I was born to be right-handed and
And I'll bet it was that way with you too, Mike. I'll bet you
never made the choice to be straight because you never had the option of
being anything else.
I read in the papers that you're a religious man, Mike, so I'd
also bet you'd assent to the notion that you and I and about 90 percent of
the rest of us are straight because that's the way the Creator made us.
And here's another simple-minded but nagging question: If we're
straight by Divine Intent, why don't we think gays are gay by Divine
I know. It's hard to imagine such a Cosmic Outrage. So let's
skip that one.
Let's just continue to assume what most straights have always assumed,
that gays have to choose to be gay but we don't have to choose to be
straight. And that leads me to a 2 a.m. question that always gives me the
fantods: If gays get a choice and we don't, does that mean (gulp!) that
the Creator likes them better than us? You know, because they get more
choices than we do?
The Truth, Mainly
Milton makes the argument in "Paradise Lost" that there's no virtue
without Free Will. So does that mean gays are more virtuous than we are
because they have more Free Will?
And if that's the case, then how do you think the Creator reacts when we
repeatedly assert the opposite, that straights are morally superior to
Does the Creator give out a great big Celestial Guffaw at our
Well, as you can see, Mike, I've got more simple-minded questions than
simple-minded answers. It comes from being a dirty rotten secular
Uh, oh. I think I just had an epiphany. Let me check. Yes I did.
Here it is:
Maybe there's another possibility. Maybe, gay or straight, we're no
more responsible for our sexual orientation than we are for being left-handed
or right-handed, for being bald-headed or looking like we wear rugs all
Maybe our sexual orientation, straight or gay, has been thrust upon us
by forces over which we have no control.
In which case, maybe it makes no legal or moral sense to penalize the
minority by vetoing a bill that would have given them the same freedom to
live where they want to live that the rest of us enjoy.
Maybe we should chooseon a matter in which we do have choicea
humane and decent respect for all citizens in legal good standing on this
lovely moist blue ball, beginning with this little patch called Nebraska.
Any thoughts on that, Mike?
P.S. I'd be pleased to leaflet another precinct for you the next time
you run for county commissioner.
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail