When news began to spread about the suicide of Tyler Clementi, I immediately thought of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was the 21-year-old University of Wyoming student who was tortured and murdered back in 1998 because he was gay. Much has changed since then. There are many more openly gay celebrities, politicians, cousins and co-workers. Gay bashing is less tolerated. But, even as a wave of openness has spread throughout the country, there is an undertow. Gay bashing is still with us. There is still an otherness that goes along with being a homosexual that gives license to all kinds of prejudice. Ask any gay soldier or marine. Sexual orientation trumps love of country. Sometimes the preachers who shout loudest about the sin of being gay are closeted themselves. Being gay can cost you your family, maybe your employment. Tyler Clementi was caught on camera kissing another man. It cost him everything.
Just a minute. I'm Harry Smith, CBS News.
Copyright 2010 CBS. All rights reserved.