Monday, November 28, 2005
Gay rights = Special Rights?
Are Gay Rights, Special Rights? Why should homosexuals be allowed to marry? Why should they be given any special treatment against discrimination (employment, housing, education etc., etc.,?) What is does the "gay rights" movement stand for? The right to wear pink, purple of fushia? Aren't there more important things to worry about, other than whether "gays" have any special rights? What does being "gay" really mean? Is it a choice, biologically determined, or just an "in" thing to be? Are gays different from other human beings? Should they be treated with the same respect if they go against the covenants of the Bible, the Koran, or any other religious text?
Below, our guest blogger, Rachel H., offers some perspectives.
The Supreme Court believes that there is a constitutional right to marry. Yet homosexuals are not included in this group who have a constitutional right to marry. A majority of US citizens believe that gay people have different rights from heterosexuals; hence the re-election of Bush in 2004. Obviously that’s not the only reason he was re-elected, but same sex marriages was a hot topic for that election; Bush’s campaign appeared to be about the moral values of citizens. During that same election, eleven states amended same sex marriages through the ballot. People seem to fear homosexuals or else they would not be treating them like unwanted outcasts. It is much like when African Americans were struggling for essential rights; then it was white v. black, now it is gay v. straight. There seems to be a constant struggle for equal rights for all.
Diane Miller argues that there is no “other group of American citizens who are currently less protected under the U.S. Constitution than are gays and lesbians.” There are general amendments that obviously apply to everyone such as freedom of speech, but there is no specific amendment those focuses on giving homosexuals more rights as a group. I would like to think that in the next 20 an amendment will exist in the constitution specifically for same sex marriages. Unfortunately, it may take that for homosexuals to gain equal rights. Right now gay couples in Michigan “who work for the state are losing their benefits because of the vote to ban same sex marriages and similar unions.” All over the country bills are being passed to inhibit the rights of homosexuals.
In 2003 Lawrence v. Texas, two men were arrested for sodomy in their own home. The Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not make sodomy illegal between consenting adults. It’s a step in the right direction, but legally a same sex couple have no rights. If they decide to adopt a child, only one is the legal guardian and the other has no rights, if something happens to the other partner or to the child. That is what homosexuals are fighting for. They are not fighting for special rights; they are fighting for rights that are inherent in any heterosexual marriage. Although, many would disagree with my argument because they believe that homosexuals are something to be feared. It’s as though being gay or lesbian is contagious, and if you give them too many rights it will spread to everyone in the country. It’s ridiculous and without support or evidence.
Another important issue surrounding gay rights is the military. Originally, the military would not allow gay people in the army. Then Clinton developed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It allows homosexuals to be in the army as long as they “convince their superiors that they were celibate.” It is absurd that homosexuals would be allowed to participate as long as no one knows their sexual orientation. Why is sexuality something to hide and be ashamed of? It is not something that a person can choose or change. It is an inherent quality a person is born with. Gay people do not want special rights, but citizens against gay marriages and such seem to understand gay people as special; therefore, they believe that gay people should have special rights. Evan Gerstmann’s book revolves around her argument that “the Constitution has, does, and should protect everyone’s fundamental right to marry the person of his or her choice…. This does not require gays and lesbians to ask for special rights or protections.” The constitution should protect homosexuals so they would not have to fight for equal rights. By Rachel H.
Gerstmann, Evan. Same Sex Marriage and the Constitution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Goodman, Ellen. “Must Gay Rights Wait for Our Comfort?” The Boston Globe. December 16, 2004.
Miller, Diane Helene. Freedom to Differ. New York: New York University Press, 1998.
Toobin, Jeffrey. “Sex and the Supremes”. The New Yorker. August 1, 2005.