GAY RIGHTS: Equal to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s?
Written by Kevin L. Howard   

            Are homosexuals being unjustly denied the rights they deserve as U.S. citizens like blacks were before the civil rights movement?  Since this question promises to keep popping up in conversations and in the media, it deserves more consideration.

            The racial hatred of the 1950s and 1960s, broadcast on television, pried eyes open to what many Americans did not want to see.  These images showed the unjust, and oftentimes cruel, ways whites treated blacks.  Some blacks were shunned or beaten, while others paid the ultimate price, death, for merely having dark skin.  Who can watch news clips from the civil rights era and not shed tears for those who were hosed down simply because they were black? 
       
            Many homosexuals in the U.S. portray their situation with that of the blacks in the 1950s and 1960s, that is, oppressed because of who they are.  Is this a fair comparison?   

            The basic thrust of the civil rights movement asserted that blacks, and all minorities, should be treated as equals with whites.  In keeping with the thoughts of Martin Luther King, Jr., equality for blacks meant that they would no longer be evaluated on the basis of their color, but on the basis of their character.  Equality for blacks helped assure fair treatment for all humans in the U.S., regardless of race.

            Although the homosexual movement similarly consists of a small group of people who want to be treated a certain way by society, it is still vastly different than the civil rights movement. Those involved in the gay rights movement seek identity as a minority group deserving special rights based upon the idea that their orientation is as benign as heterosexuals’.
        
           Blacks were discriminated against because of skin pigmentation.  The horror blacks faced did not stem from the fact that these crimes were committed against blacks.  This discrimination was horrible because these crimes were perpetrated on innocent humans.  Homosexuals, however, are not necessarily innocent victims caught in the crossfire of discrimination.  They cannot claim that being denied marriage implies the same inferiority as blacks faced before the civil rights movement.  A 13-year-old cannot marry either, nor can a man marry his sister, yet there is no hint of inferiority in the laws preventing children and relatives from marrying each other.
    
            Even if some people are born homosexual, this does not warrant that their lifestyles should be endorsed by political policies.  After all, alcoholics may be born with a predisposition for alcoholism, but it would be ridiculous for them to protest for special rights.  Blacks were in a position of inequality that, unless the system changed, they were doomed to social injustice.  Homosexuals are not.

            Homosexuals may insist that they do not want special rights, just equal rights—such as being granted marital status.  For a particular group to seek privileged rights is not necessarily objectionable.  After all, handicapped people have certain special rights, like their own parking spots at stores.  Few non-handicapped citizens are disturbed with this unique right because the need is easily recognizable.  But if left-handed citizens of the U.S. suddenly demanded that the government give them personalized parking places, then we would consider their demands crazy. 

           The problem is not that homosexuals are asking for special rights.  The problem is that homosexuals are asking for illegitimate rights.  Rather than being comparable with blacks fighting for justice, homosexuals are more comparable to left-handed people wanting a special parking space at the mall.  Why should lefties have a privileged parking spot that the rest of us don’t have?  Homosexuals may argue that they don’t want a special space, just a regular space to park at the mall.  But the Constitution gives homosexuals a place (liberty) at the mall (society), just not a special place (marriage rights).

            Since homosexuals still participate in their lifestyles without marriage rights, why do they need a special status?  Many have higher incomes than heterosexuals, so how are they discriminated against?  What about polygamists?  What about 13-year-old Billy who wants to marry 12-year-old Amy?  Who will fight for their rights?  

            Why should homosexual couples get an equal shot at adopting children just as husbands and wives do?  Haven’t children typically benefited from a man and a woman rearing them?  Although many families now have only one parent, wouldn’t a loving father and mother be ideal?  Should we explore gay marriage just because many children grow up in broken homes?

            Single parent families, though not ideal, are a reality.  However, in many cases, the other parent still has some positive role in the child’s life, whereas homosexual families cannot offer this.  The gay marriage structure argues against the need for both male and female influences in a child’s life.  Thus, redefining the family will require more than references to the civil rights movement.  It will require evidence that the homosexual lifestyle is just as harmless as the heterosexual way of life.

            The largest motive behind the segregation laws developed from the fear whites had of being forced to mingle with blacks.  Married heterosexual couples aren’t worried that they will be forced to work or mingle with gay married couples.  When homosexuals compare their movement to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, they reduce injustice to nothing more than one group’s refusal to cater to the wants of another.  This undermines what blacks achieved.  Blacks were not demanding perks; they were demanding equality because it was essential for them to live in peace.  Blacks were genuinely treated unjustly.  However, it is not obvious that injustice occurs just because homosexual couples are not granted marital status or sanctioned with the right to adopt children. Blacks were fighting against prejudice resulting from an unfair system.  Homosexuals are dealing with opposition resulting from their assumptions about the right to marry.  

            As American citizens, homosexuals are protected by the Constitution and granted all rights as other American citizens.  Therefore, homosexuals should not be granted special rights.  After all, we don’t give a thumbs up to lefties demanding their own parking spots, nor should we for homosexuals demanding marriage rights.  

            While lefties demanding privileged parking is morally neutral, homosexual marriage will not be so benign.  Unfortunately, we may soon discover its malignancy.

 

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