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A few gay rights advocates are defending Ravi

Rutgers University student has unlikely allies
Dharun_Ravi.jpg

Dharun Ravi is to be sentenced tomorrow (21 May) for spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi. However, a number of gay advocates are wondering if punishment is appropriate for this case.

In today's New York Times (20 May), an article examined the debate surrounding Ravi's sentencing.

'What was he [Clementi] told about being gay growing up, by his faith leaders, by the media, by the culture,' asked Dan Savage. 'Ravi may have been the last person who made him feel unsafe and abused and worthless, but he couldn’t have been the first. The rush to pin all the responsibility on Ravi and then wash our hands and walk away means we’re not going to learn the lessons of these kids.'

Savage is the creator of It Gets Better, a program geared toward fighting gay teen suicides.

Clementi killed himself three days after discovering Ravi, his roommate at Rutgers University, set up a webcam to spy on him as he was having sex with another man. The freshman's suicide became part of a national conversation of bullying and gay students. The state of New Jersey, where Rutgers is located, passed strict anti-bullying laws in response to the Clementi case.

In March, Ravi was found guilty of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence. Due to Clementi's sexuality, bias intimidation is considered a hate crime.

If he gets a prison sentence Ravi could face deportation to India, his native country. In a previous interview he expressed remorse for Clementi's death.

'I'm very sorry about Tyler,' Ravi told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in an interview published Thursday (22 March)  'I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what to say.'

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