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June 16, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1971-06-16

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mtr ziltian Buth
420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in all reprints.
Wednesday, June 16, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
NIGHT EDITOR: GERI SPRUNG
Trying to stifle truth
A FEDERAL JUDGE has ordered the New York Times
temporarily to halt publication of a voluminous
classified study that reveals to the American public for
the first time the origins -of our tragically foolish in-
volvement in Indochina.
While abiding by the court's injunction, the Times
has decried the government's attempts at "classic cen-
sorship" and has argued the articles are "in the interest
of the people of this country."
The three installments already published by the
Times "seriously interfered with the conduct of our
foreign relations," the government's attorney claimed
yesterday. In the event of further publication, he insist-
ed, "the national defense interests of the United States
and the nation's security will suffer immediate and ir-
reparable harm."
But these arguments ring hollow. The foreign rela-
tions of a world power that has for years pursued an un-
just war are already on shaky ground, and our defense
and security are endangered far less than our pride.
IT IS CLEAR that the Times has operated in the people's
interest. The controversy revolves around one basic
concept: truth - a newspaper's effort to present the
truth to the public and the government's effort to sup-
press it.
The documents offer final proof of the existence of
a credibility gap. The American people have never been
told the truth about Vietnam. Instead, their elected of-
ficials, including the President, have lied to them con-
sciously and carefully for years.
The study reveals that the Johnson Administration
"intensified the covert warfare against North Vietnam
and began planning in the spring of 1964 to wage overt
war, a full year before it publicly revealed the depth of
its involvement and its fear of defeat."
Plans for escalation were made in the spring of 1964,
the study says, months before the Gulf of Tonkin inci
dent, the supposed justification for increased U.S. in-
volvement.
PRESIDENT Johnson's credibility is shaken still fur-
ther. The administration had decided in September,
1964, that extensive bombing of North Vietnam would be
necessary. But the consensus was kept quiet, while the
nation reacted adversely to campaigning Senator Barry
Goldwater's advocacy of full-scale air attacks on the
north.
The administration soon realized its bombing was
going to be ineffective, and in April, 1965, Johnson de-
cided to use U.S. ground troops for offensive action. The
decision, however, was kept secret, and orders were given
"to minimize any appearance of sudden changes in pol-
icy."
In its entirety, the study represents a frightening
pattern of thought. "It suggests," as the Times says,
"that the predominant American interest was at first
containment of Communism and later the defense of the
power, influence and prestige of the United States, in
both stages irrespective of conditions in Vietnam."
With its 7,000 pages of details, the study exposed by
the Times is vital information and should certainly be
public information. Yet the government is seeking, as it
has sought throughout the Vietnam war, to keep this
information secret.
THE ATTEMPTS at censorshi, particularly in this case,
serve as an ominous warning. A government that has
fought a war to maintain apoearances is willing'to stifle
the press to keep up those same appearances.
Meanwhile, the Times faces an FBI investigation
and possible prosecution for' printing the- truth. How-
ever, with a vote to cut off funds for the Indochina war
scheduled today in the Senate, the articles have made
an impact that government persecution can only deep-

en.
--LARRY LEMPERT
Summer Co-Editor
Stie r Edi/orial Staff
STEvE KOPPMAN LARRY LEMPERT
Ce-PditterCo-Editor
ROB.RTCONROW............................... ...eBooks Editor
JIM JUDKIS.......................... ..,Photography Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Rose Sue Berstein, Mark Dillen, Jonathan Miller, Robert
Pehreeiner, GeriSperuang
ASSISTANT NIGRT EDITORS: Patricia E..Bauer,. Anita Crone, Jim Irwin
Alan Lenhoff, Chris Parks
Snummer Busiaess Staff
JIM STOREY .................. .. ........... Business Manager
JANET ENGL.......................... .. Display Advertising
FRAN HYMAN. ...................._.... .....OClassified Advertining
BECKY VAN DYKE ..... ....................... Circulation Department
BILL ABBOTT ..................................General Office Assistant

Seminars on homosexuality:
Searching for understanding

v

By LYNN WHITNALL
DESPITE the growing trend to-
ward sexual liberation in the
United States, homosexuality re-
mains a shunned and misunder-
stood concept.
"Homosexuality is often viewed
with either disgust or anxiety, emo-
tions which interfere with an ob-
jective understanding," reported
the Task Force on Homosexuality
of the National Institute of Men-
tal Health.
The task force's work indicates/
the ingrained prejudices confront-
ing the homophile community.
Their comprehensive r e p ao t,
which recommends establishment
of a Center for the Study of Sex-
ual Behavior and the enactment
of major reform in social policy.
has been ignored by the Nixon ad-
ministration since its submission
in October, 1969.
At the University, for almost the
first time, someone is making a
concentrated effort to understand
the problems of America's homo-
sexual minority. During May and
June, a four-week series of semi-
nars was sponsored by the Office
of Religious Affairs.
ONE MAJOR problem facing the
gay population is the illegality of
homosexuality, a subject discus-
sed at length in the seminars. Para-
doxically, although it is quite legal
to be a homosexual, it is illegal to
engage in homosexual activity.
Such activity is punishable as a
felony with a maximum penalty of
life imprisonment in five states,
and, in Michigan, 15 years. Homo-
sexuality usually is not enforced
as a felony, however; homosex-
uals are usbally charged under mis-
demeanors such as solicitation, dis-
orderly conduct, loitering, or being
a "lewd and wanton person."
There is a small but growing
trend to repeal laws against homo-
sexuality. Illinois and Connecticut
have dropped their statutes against
sodomy, and several other states
are considering similar action to
legalize any form of sexual be-
havior in private between consent-
ing adults. .
A BILL to reform Michigan's
sodomy laws was proposed in 1967
but has laqguished in legislative
committees since then. Fiery ob-
jections were raised at its initial
presentation, and many consider
passage or even debate of the bill
in the near future unlikely.
Lloyd Putnam, ORA director
,and seminar leader, optimistic-

ally points out that at least the bill
has been introduced. Some states
have not gone that far.
The difficulty in apprehending
offenders of the sodomy laws and
the large number of homosexuals
make enforcement almost impos-
sible.
OBVIOUSLY, the millions of
homosexuals in the U.S. are not in
great danger of receiving the stiff
felony penalties. But the very ex-
istence of the laws contributes to
damaging discrimination against
homosexuals.
The NIMH task force argues that
reform is vital to the mental health
of homosexuals who are con-
fronted with the emotional stresses
arising from the need for conceal-
ment from being in violation of the
accepted law.
Another equally serious threat to
the male homosexual is the draft.
One way out is to apply ior medi-
cal exemption on grounds of homo-
sexuality, but this is recorded in
the applicant's file to permanently
establish his status.
These medical files are subject
to inspection for government secur-
ity clearances and in applying for
most civil service jobs. Some pri-
vate employers also make use of
the files.
THE OTHER alternative, to
serve in secrecy, cairies the risk
of discovery resulting in a less-
than-honorable discharge. If a
member of the armed forces com-
mits a homosexual act or is caught
soliciting, he is dismissel as an
undesirable.
Even any soldier who "exhibits,
professes or admits to homosexual
tendencies or associates with per-
sons 'known to him to be homosex-
uals or who acknowledges previous
homosexual experiences before en-
listment" receives an equally dam-
aging general discharge.
The laws against homosexuality
create a tremendous uncertainty
in the lives of homosexuals. Be-
cause the laws are so "diverse and
selective," explained one seminary
participant, "you never know
what's going to happen."
The general tolerance of lesbian-
ism was also discussed in the semi-
nar. Anti-homosexuality laws are
rarely enforced against women. A
theory was proposed that in a male-
dominated society, man is "sex-
ually aroused by lesbianism, but
threatened by male homosexual-
ity."
Many professional psychologists
and socialists are nlow studying

homosexuality and vehemently ad-
vocating reforms. But their studies
continue to pass largely unnoticed.
ALTHOUGH she does not spe-
cifically blame President Nixon,
Dr. Evelyn Hooker, the chairman
of the NIMH task force, attributes
the fate of the report to the general
disapproval of his administration
of sexual reform.
As an example of this disapprov-
al, she cited the rejection of the
report of the Commission on Ob-
scenity and Pornography, a report
which has been highly praised by
experts in the field.
The University similarly has by-
passedethe issue. In April, 1970
President Robben Fleming denied
a request for a Gay Liberation
Front (GLF) Midwest Conference
here on the grounds that it was not
'clearly educational in nature and
directed at people who have pro-
fessional interest in the field."
GLF and supporters pointed out
that these criteria are not used to
evaluate other events held at the
University. But a confrontation
was averted when GLF dropped
plans for a conference to avoid
conflict with a similar event held
in Austin, Texas.
A promising step to improve
counseling has been suggested in
a proposal now being considered
by the Office of Student Services.
Two advocates, a man and woman,
will be hired to speak for the
homosexual community if the pro-
posal is approved. This plan offers
great potential to enable the Uni-
versity to respond to the needs of
the homosexual community on carim-
pus.
THE ISSUE of homosexuality
has not yet become a cause cele-
bre of the liberal movement, like
the 'Vietnam war, black power, or
women's liberation. In many
groups, even of radicals discrimi-
nation against homosexuals is still
a socially-accepted practice.
This hardly excuses major so-
cial institutions,-including the Uni-
versity, from ignoring modern re-
search on homosexuality and re-
commendations of respected scien-
tists, including those of the NIMH
task force.
Quite possibly, however, sexual
oppression will follow the course
of other forms of oppression in trait
country, and social institutions will
not move to eradicate unjust con-
ditions until forced to do so by the
militant actions of a harrassed
minority.

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