Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Civil Rights


Yesterday, someone I respect used the term "alternative rights" in connection to civil rights currently being denied homosexual Americans. I wrote a response, but didn't send it. This morning another person posted the cartoon below, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make my point.

One of the changes we all need to make is in realizing that one isn't talking about "alternative rights" but about civil rights. We currently have a legal contract, called marriage, that bestows a whole raft of legal rights on two people that are denied to others, solely because of gender. That is unconstitutional.

Some Americans are denied the right to serve their country, or to do so by hiding who they are, and if someone finds out they are homosexual, they are kicked out of the military. That is unconstitutional.

The tired old defenses for denying equal rights to all Americans is of the same "separate but equal" nonsense that used to be used to explain why blacks had to sit in the back of the bus or have separate drinking fountains and bathrooms. At least they got to ride, right? At least they had water and toilets, right?

Wrong.

All Americans should be treated the same under law, or the special laws that benefit only some Americans should be abolished. That would sound pretty radical to anyone who hasn't been disenfranchised by unequal laws based upon bigotry. It's always difficult for the majority, who enjoy privilege and safety in numbers, to understand how painful it is to be treated as "other".

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