In his Jan. 3 letter, Danny Heenan addressed the question of equity in the use of government funds, disapproving of potential payments to the domestic partners of gay people.

My partner and I have been together for 28 years, throughout that time paying, on two professional salaries, taxes that go in part to support the domestic partners of heterosexuals.

Granted, these couples are married; homosexuals, by virtue of a neat Catch-22, are denied legal partnership recognition and then denied benefits because they lack such recognition.

Most people wish to visit their partners when they are hospitalized, bequeath their worldly goods to them free of inheritance taxes, have their relationships stabilized by government recognition and provide their partners with fair benefits based on equal pay for equal work.

My partner has stood by me through sickness and health, including recent quadruple-bypass surgery. Is it fair that I must treat him as a stranger before the law? Is it fair that the fruit of my life's labor be used to benefit Mr. Heenan's partner but not mine?

For heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, sexual orientation is distinct from sexual behavior. Orientation is a given: a gift from God that cannot be altered. Denial of legal equity on the basis of this orientation is simply a matter of the majority taking unfair advantage of a minority.

DONN B. MURPHY

Arlington