A Liberal Asks, “How can gay rights still be an issue?”

A student at Butler University has instilled hope in my heart again for our Nation’s future. In an opinion piece to her newspaper, Junior Sarah Owen asks how it is that, in this day and age, can gay rights be an issue? As she so elequently points out, though we are supposed to have freedom of religion, it’s the Religious Right that is trying to impose it’s ideas onto society. Sarah, you should have continued on to say that this is turning us into a theocracy, not a democracy.

But any way you slice it, she’s right. Gay “rights” of marriage are the same damn rights as everyone else. If you’re against these “rights”, then you’re against people having rights of survivorship. You’re against enabling the second parent adopt the birth child of the first parent. You’re against that child receiving survivor benefits if her parents are killed.

In short, if you’re against this, then you are antifamily. Period.

THE LIBERAL RANT: How can gay rights still be an issue?

By Columnist Sarah Owen
Dawgnet

Some of it’s fact, some of it’s opinion, but all of it is simple common sense—that’s the Liberal Rant. Sarah Owen is a junior history major with an English and political science double minor.
Ah, the timeless debate of gays and gay rights in America. Homosexuality: is it a genetic trait or a choice? Is it to be tolerated or inhibited? Is it an honorable subculture in our ever-diversified nation or is it an offense to the very moral fabric of our society? Well, this liberal thinks that the conservative take on the issue – from George Bush to articles run in Butler’s own publications – has yet to build a case that truly holds water.

Is homosexuality a chosen lifestyle? Of course not. Most conservatives claim that being gay is a choice and can therefore be “treated” or “cured,” or that it is simply a matter of sexual confusion. But my question is this: If people consciously made the choice to be gay, then why couldn’t—or wouldn’t—they just as soon revert back to heterosexuality in order to lead an easier, more accepted lifestyle? Between the gay community’s struggle for acceptance and for equal rights, why would anyone willingly enter into a lifestyle that is considered so taboo? Why is there currently a gay community in the United States that is comprised of millions, if such a choice automatically places the individual into a discriminated minority?

Why? Well, it’s a simple reason: because same-sex attraction is the natural form of love with which these people were—and are—born. Having seen the happiness and the commitment within the relationships of my gay friends, this liberal is going to confidently stand by her conviction and say that the only choice involved in homosexuality is a person’s choosing to follow his or her own heart.

But the ever-debated “nature vs. nurture” element aside, the simple fact remains that there are millions of gay couples in America who are proud of their love for their partners, and these couples deserve all of the rights that are granted by our government to heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, with the narrow-minded prejudices of the Bush administration firmly in place, gay couples today are still fighting an uphill battle for civil rights and for their marriages to be recognized by the government.

Honestly, though, how can this possibly still remain an issue? We are a secular government. We claim that there is a separation of church and state, and yet those who oppose gay unions on a religious pretext seem to hold an obscene amount of influence over our current government. But in denying homosexuals equal rights, many politicians—our “president” included—have contradicted the very rights bestowed upon them as citizens.

The Fourteenth Amendment states that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…nor deny to any person…the equal protection of the laws.” And as citizens, gay couples have the right to employ this ‘equal protection’ to enforce the rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence, namely “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Simply stated, people’s love lives are theirs to be lived and should not be determined by anyone but themselves. And if a couple wishes to marry, regardless of their genders, then that marriage license—as seen and protected under the law—is acquired from city hall and not a site of religious worship and should therefore be recognized as equally as any other by our government.

Therefore, if marriage is a pursuit of happiness for a same-sex couple, then they are, without question, entitled to the same rights and privileges as those granted to the marriage between a man and a woman. That said, Bush and his administration can preach ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ all they want, but if they can’t uphold basic rights of Americans, they need to seriously reexamine their professional integrity.

Some of it’s fact, some of it’s opinion, but all of it is simple common sense—that’s the Liberal Rant. Sarah Owen is a junior history major with an English and political science double minor.

  • Sarah Owen

    Thanks to the ever-reliable Google search, it was great fun to re-read my column from eight years ago!  Good times.

    (My politics haven’t changed one bit, by the way.) 🙂

  • walterhpdx

    Sarah, you’re still one of our heroes!

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