Land of the Not-so-Free (Gays in America)
There is change all around us in the world today, it is understandable that these changes can become overwhelming and hard to handle. When it comes to being homosexual in the United States there is a lot a tension that has formed around the subject, such as discrimination, harassment, violence, hate speeches, and even laws and proposed amendments trying to take away rights from homosexuals.
The debate over same-sex marriage is not about “tolerance” but “preference”; most individuals who are opposed to single-sex marriage would believe they will not “tolerate” it just because they “prefer” to not see it. Granted that we have devolved from previous centuries by the decreased acceptance of homosexual relationships, we are still trapped in a narrow minded society that doesn’t give every American, which includes “gay” or “straight“, the equal rights they deserve. So should America be called the “Land of the Free” if there is not a freedom to love whomever you please?
The answer is no; not until an amendment is passed in the Constitution stating that marriage shall consist of a man and woman, a woman and woman, or of a man and man without any acts of violence being committed upon them because of sexual orientation Throughout time different regions and cultures have come to accept romantic same-sex relationships, including marriage, so why can‘t America? In 2003, the Federal Marriage Amendment, written by the Alliance for Marriage, was proposed to Congress. As stated in the Federal Marriage Amendment, “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.
Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman”. However, marriage hasn’t always been defined this way between “a man and a woman”. According to the online dictionary Dictionary. com, marriage is “the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities” and nowhere in the definition does it exclaim specific genders.
There are some states who are helping with the gay-rights movement while some – not so much. According to the Online Debate Database Homosexual Statistics”, thirty-three percent of the US have DOMA in effect. DOMA, as it states at the official factual DOMA website, is the “defense of marriage act” that sustains marriage in all those states, including California, to only a man and woman. California has been under a push and pull battle between the government and the people since May of 2008 concerning this huge controversy. In May of 2008, California allowed single-sex marriage to take place, filling the cities with over 18000 gay couples.
This was a great progression until November of that year, just a few months later, did the California Supreme court decide to change their Constitution by adding Proposition 8 as an amendment. However, researched by Time Magazine writer John Cloud, Proposition 8 only won by a mere 4. 4%, 52. 2% in favor while 47. 8 were opposed to the ban on gay marriage in California. The President of the United States, Barrack Obama, also is opposed to Proposition 8 saying in an MTV interview that it is “unnecessary”, researched by blogger and writer Andrew B.
The president also states that although he believes marriage is between a man and woman, constitutional rights shouldn’t be “played with” just to “prohibit somebody who cares about another person” (Andrew B). Even though Obama is not exactly in favor of gay marriage, he is in favor of gay-acceptance. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass” policy is a practical ban on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals serving in the military says Chai Feldblum, the Legal Director of the Campaign for Military Service.
This policy was made to “protect” the homosexual in the armed forces from being harassed, but ultimately it has become the last discriminating law that has been allowed to stay around after the Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” policy was adopted in 1993 from a compromise that Bill Clinton proposed during his campaigning for Presidency (Feldblum). The policy basically stated: don’t ask about sexual orientation; don’t investigate sexual orientation, except in specific circumstances in limited ways; don’t harass; don’t tolerate harassment based on perceived sexual orientation. after seventeen years however, the policy has not stopped all incidents from taking place or the fact that homosexuals are still being harassed. One incident that led to the adding of “Don’t harass” to the policy was the murder of PFC Barry Winchell who was murdered by fellow soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1999. This occurrence brought to light the problem that has been in the military for a long time and that is not going away with this policy. Since the introduction of the policy, discharges based on sexual orientation have soared; more than 8700 lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members have been discharged since 1994. Feldblum). Although this crime had to take place to add a Don’t Harass policy, America’s homosexuals are still undergoing many hate crimes and acts of violence against them. The Don’t Ask Don’t tell policy is another step forward, but still doesn’t require the acceptance; it is just putting the “problem” in disguise and saying “if we don’t know then it is okay for you to be gay”, when in actuality, that’s still discrimination. People who are opposed to the issue don’t like to see what’s going on around them shouldn’t commit illegal activity which is why an amendment should be proposed to restrict these acts of violence.
Why are so many people in favor of taking away homosexual’s civil rights? They are in favor of it because they feel the need to “protect marriage”, as stated at an anti-gay-marriage site ProtectMarriage. org. Some of the top reasons as to why so many are opposed to granting gays equal rights is: its to preserve the “right” idea of marriage; it is religiously/morally wrong; it’s to save our children from thinking same-sex marriage is “natural”; it defies procreation.
The “right” idea of marriage should be between two people who love each other, not between which gender they love. Found at The Online Debate Database, Social science does show that the best environment for a child in a house-hold should be between a mother and father and a gay couple cannot procreate. This is an issue that anti-gay-activists frequently call upon; they do not take into consideration that, yes a household is best suited with a mother and father in it, but even plenty straight parents do not meet that criteria.
If homosexuals shall not be allowed the parental rights as guardians, then neither shall single mothers or single fathers; orphanages would be excluded as well. Adopting a child is the best for the orphan, of course if the parent(s) can well meet the qualifications. Sexual orientation, in the process in adopting a child, is not taken into factor during the adoptive process; it is “what’s in the best for the kids” (Gay Adoption Debate and Poll). Also, if procreation were an issue, then they anti-gay-activists should also be against infertile women and men since they annot procreate either. Finally, in the religious aspect, there are many religions that state homosexuality is wrong and it is granted to believe so because of the Constitution’s First Amendment, which allows the freedom of religion in America. However, religion and the US government are not supposed to be mixed. Yet still, that is one of the top reasons that anti-homosexuals state in defending marriage between opposite sexes. So what’s happening now within the big issue?
Don’t ask Don’t Tell was a small step towards the acceptance of homosexuals, but more is being done currently by the people who support homosexual marriage and rights. All around the world, gay-activists are taking charge; there are websites built, including GayLesbianAllianceAct. org (GLAA) with several separate websites sponsored by GLAA for specific countries, to help support and organize functions to raise money to fight for gay rights. Different cities all around the world let Gay Pride parades take place as well, filled with hundreds and thousands of gay supporters marching along (GLAA).
There are also many campaigns and organizations to spread Gay Equality awareness, like FCKH8. com. At nonprofit media-campaigner Luke Montgomery’s website, FCKH8. com, he advertises t-shirts, calendar, wristbands, and stickers where a percentage of each purchase goes to the “marriage equality fight”. Luke even raises funds to help council young homosexual and towards suicide prevention. Slowly but surely, homosexuality is becoming accepted. So how does all of this would work in our modern society, in a time when we are supposed to be liberated and a free thinking country?
Its simple people are afraid of change and cannot get past their idea of a perfect family. One part of the 14th amendment, which was found at an online US Constitution site, states “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property”. As columnist and historian Joseph Stromberg researched, “’Liberty’ derives from Latin Libertas, from liber meaning ‘free’” which originated from another German word leaute which means “people” (Stromberg). All in all, “liberty” originated from words which basically mean growth “within which one was free” (Stromberg).
This etymology doesn’t have any specifications towards gender. With the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy and the reciprocal beneficiary relationship program we are giving the right to people to still be discriminating against people just not for their race, sex or religion but because a person’s love life. There shouldn’t be any legal recognition of the subject unless it’s to sign the marriage certificate to a man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man. Marriage is a bond that two people should be able to share to symbolize their passion towards one another.
What many people fail to realize is that someone cannot simply stop being gay and if someone is gay, then so be it; It’s like trying to tell a heterosexual person to stop being straight and become gay, it is not possible. Just because it is not preferred, does not mean no tolerance should get in the way of another humans’ civil rights. There are many families that do not stay within the guidelines of what is considered the “right” or “normal” way. Now that homosexuals are more out in the community then in the past they have started families and what to spend their lives with their partners.
For the men and women all around the United States and the world, they do not get a chance to have the family they want because they are told they are wrong for wanting love with the same gender. How can we as a society tell people that they are wrong for their sexual orientation? Legalizing gay marriage would decriminalize homosexuality. Same-sex marriage is good for gay people and good for America for the same reason. It civilizes gays and it civilizes America. WORKS CITED B, Andrew. “Obama: Prop 8 “Unnecessary,” But Doesn’t Believe In Gay Marriage / Queerty. ” Queerty – Free of an Agenda.
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