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Gay or Straight: We All Have the Same Rights
Gay or Straight: We All Have the Same Rights
From as far back as anyone can remember marriage has always been something that everyone has done or looked forward to as a young child. Sure, back then, marriage was between a man and a woman, and being gay or lesbian was a secret that was well kept. Now times have changed, where being gay or lesbian is not something to be ashamed of or kept secret but to celebrate whom you are and where people are starting to be a little more open to changes. If a man and a woman are told by someone that they are not allowed to be married, there would be anger, they would have people support their marriage, and because they are in love, they would marry anyways. Now, if the same situation were to happen to a gay couple, they would be EXPECTED to not get mad, to not have any supporters, and not get married because it says in the Bible this just is not so; well all of this is about to be contradicted and sorted out. A person’s rights cannot and will not be violated just because they are gay. Marriage is a sacred right given to all human beings, and should not be taken away just because of sexual orientation.
Today, the antigay discrimination from the past fifty years has greatly improved—in certain ways. Back then, Hollywood would not promote things like Ellen; Will & Grace; Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) film festival that happens every year, gay or lesbian characters, gay themes, or even the mere existence of homosexuality. Fifty years ago there were no openly gay people working in the federal government because in 1953 President Eisenhower made the executive order that banned gays from government employment and there weren’t any businesses associated with gays (like gay bar’s) publicly advertised in newspapers. We can see how much the public view on homosexuality has improved over the years, but what we fail to recognize and remember is how difficult the past was for gay people and how they were tormented with extreme discrimination. In Why Marriage?: The History Shaping Today’s Debate Over Gay Equality, George Chauncey notes “That history bears repeating, since its legacy shapes today’s debate over marriage” (5). He brings an excellent point because all of the discrimination that was used fifty years ago to prevent gays from pushing forward in the work force, we now see when the topic of same-sex marriage is talked about, where rights are being taken away just because of sexual orientation.
Granted, there is a lot of discrimination against people everywhere we look; may it be against a race of people, a disabled person, or a certain social class, and people have all these different reasons for why they discriminate against these groups. However, when it comes to discriminating against gays and lesbians, the only thing people like to throw in their faces is that it goes against the Bible. This is their only argument, God says it is wrong and it is an abomination so “case closed”, well not exactly because as the Bible was re-written words were put in it that originally were not meant to have a place in the Scripture. In What God Has Joined Together? it states that “The word homosexuality is never used in Scripture…In the few places where same-sex sexual acts are mentioned in Scripture, the context suggests idolatry, violent rape, lust, exploitation, or promiscuity. Nothing is said about homosexual orientation as understood through modern science, nor is anything said about the loving relationship or two same-sex persons who have covenanted to be life partners” (Myers and Scanzoni 84-85). These are important distinctions that people, who choose to throw the Bible in someone who is a homosexual, need to keep in mind. Furthermore, when looking at the Bible modern translators have messed up the translation of the old Scripture. In the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:17 it says “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel,” and in the King James Version of 1 Kings 14:24 it says “And there were also sodomites in the land: they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” We will not obviously find this wording in our new revised Bibles. Instead, we will find such Scripture as—Deuteronomy 23:17 “None of the daughters of Israel shall be a temple prostitute; none of the sons of Israel shall be a temple prostitute” and one of these two versions of 1 Kings 14:24 saying “There were also male prostitutes in the land. They committed all the abominations of the nations that he Lord drove out before the people of Israel” or “There were even shrine prostitutes throughout the land. The people imitated the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.” Modern day translators are to partially to blame for the furthering of homosexuality discrimination with the Bible because they substituted words like temple prostitute, shrine prostitute, male prostitute, and simply the word prostitute in the verses where they are not needed or have no business being put in the verse. “We don’t honor the Word of God by insisting on an erroneous translation because it’s familiar or fits preconceived notions or prejudices” (Myers and Scanzoni 92). The book Same-Sex Marriage: Moral Wrong or Civil Right the Reverend Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church (a place that is dedicated specifically to ministering gay men and lesbians in Los Angeles, California) says in his opinion, “We are not seeking special treatment. We seek equality. We are asking that marriage laws be applied equally to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. That is the only gay agenda—equality for everyone under the law” (8). This is coming from a minister, a man who has pledged his life to serving the Lord and preaching what the Bible says and he comes with this opinion, which is a valid one. Gays do not go around looking for people to feel sorry for them, nor do they go to the extremes that they have been forced to listen to by antigay marriage people. They are constantly hearing things, like this from Glenn T. Stanton and Bill Maier from the conservative religious group Focus On The Family, “Affirming same-sex marriage would forever alter the meaning of marriage and family for everyone” (Same-Sex Marriage, 10). Now, even though this is someone else’s opinion it can be matched with the question, “whose definition of marriage and family?” Nobody has that answer on how marriage and family is defined, and we cannot rely on the new versions of the Bible because obviously, they have been translated in a wrong way and all churches have different views on gay marriage because there are churches that support same-sex marriage. If the meaning of family is to maintain stable, traditional, childbearing families is what everyone is going off of, then how can’t gay and lesbian couples match this? In today’s world a traditional family really does not exist, (families are split up or end up apart, things happen) and everybody has different ideas of what the word “traditional” really means. Stability in a family doesn’t depend on who the heads of the house are (may it be a man and a woman, woman and a woman, or a man and a man) stability in a family comes from the family working together as a whole and being able to communicate. Now, when it comes to child-bearing in families we can look at it this way, when there is a lesbian couple and they want to have children, the women would most likely go to a clinic for artificial insemination (kind of like how in a woman/man relationship, if she can’t get pregnant she would also go here). Then, for the gay couple (when they physically are not able to be pregnant) they, like many other couples who just cannot get pregnant, they adopt a child who needs a family or they have a baby via a surrogate mother.
Everyone is told that famous people/celebrities are people too, right? Then why do people who discriminate against “average” gay and lesbian couples who want to get married, yet when it comes to a celebrity gay or lesbian couple getting married these people praise them. What is it that a famous gay/lesbian couple that are waiting to get married have that, let us say, your neighbor does not have? I remember after lesbian couple Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres married in 2008 and all these people around me were talking about it and how happy they were for them, yet they still discriminate against the thought of same-sex marriage. Rossi and DeGeneres are not the only famous openly gay couple that have gotten married, there is also Mario Cantone and Jerry Dixon, Cheyenne Jackson and Monte Lapka, Elton John and David Furnish, (soon-to-be-married) Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, (soon-to-be-married) Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia, Alan Cumming and Grant Shaffer, Wanda Sykes and partner Alex, David Hyde Pierce and Brian Hargrove, and Cat Cora and Jennifer Cora just to name a few. There were many people so excited for these couples to tie the knot, but the same people still discriminate against “average” gay and lesbian couples. If the family things is really the BIG issue then we can also take a look at some of the couples listed because many of them also have children and have been together for many years—Cat Cora and Jennifer have four sons, Harris and Burtka have twins Gideon and Harper (via surrogate), and Elton John and David Furnish have son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John. If people are that open to famous couples then why cannot they be just as open to the ones that they would see in everyday life? Just because the gay and lesbian people that are in our society are not famous does not mean they still cannot have the same acceptance right as a famous person.
The discrimination around same-sex marriage obviously has a lot of back up discrimination from those who already think that just being gay or a lesbian is wrong. The only way to truly get rid of same-sex marriage discrimination is to start with the fact that being gay or lesbian is not a big deal. We always here that “this is America, the land of the free”; choosing how you live your life should be a freedom choice. So when someone decides that the way they want to spend their life is with a man or a woman it should not be met with harsh words or discrimination or threats, it should be accepted. People make life decisions all the time and are met with people who say they cannot do it or that there will be a “roadblock” in the way and after overcoming those things, people tend to accept them. It’s hard to really understand how people can accept murders, abusers, and rapists in their society because they simply have set rules (don’t go so many feet within a child area, register yourself in our database, jail time is served and they are released, and/or they get put on parole with an ankle bracelet or another type of tracking device). We may not see it as this way but as long as they have rules, then we are okay with it, live our lives, and let them be. So, is it because gays and lesbians in our society do not have to register as such or do not have “set rules” that people do not accept them? Gay and lesbian couples have not do not anything wrong in their lives, they made a life choice that they believed would make them happy and the only thing they are met with is criticism. I think this subject on how gays are being bullied is becoming better known, but how it is coming out in the media is not a good thing because it is showing that a gay person’s rights to express themselves are being violated at a young age by the generation that is being called our “Countries Future Children”.
The way the bulling is coming out in the media is on such bad terms, and it is very sad. The latest news that has come out to the public about people being bullied over their sexuality was the news of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer. Jamey Rodemeyer was a boy who was gay, had committed suicide after enduring so much heartbreaking torment from other kids in his school. Jamey’s story touched not only his family, but also people like Lady Gaga and Anderson Cooper. During one of his airings of “Anderson Cooper 360”, he addressed the bullying issue and Jamey Rodemeyer. On the show, Cooper had pointed out certain anti-gay activists and he explained that it is because of groups like these that are the reason why many teachers seem to just ignore or accept the derogatory gay slurs being spoken in schools. “I mean, if someone was using the “N” word, they would be hauled in front of the principal’s office or talked to, but calling someone, you know, the “F” word, they get a pass,” (Thoroughly Anderson Cooper) is how Anderson explained the way our schools are during his show and this is exactly right.
Whether a person is gay, straight, bisexual, or a lesbian they are still a human being and should be treated with the same respect as everyone else. There is nothing wrong with you and your morals are not corrupted just because you decide that you want to spend your life with a man or a woman. As people in a world where things are constantly changing, we should be used to accepting different things and yet we find it so hard to just accept someone who has a different sexual orientation than our own. If the only hard proof that people have to use to discriminate against gay and lesbian marriage is that it is going against the Bible, well then they need to reread the Bible because in the very same book that they are saying being gay or lesbian is a sin, there is also many passages that state that God, our Almighty Father loves all his children the same. I am a Christian and went to church school every Wednesday until I was confirmed, and we were always told that God accepted you for who you are and if you feel like you are “unloved” know that he loves you unconditionally no matter what. I do not wish to offend anyone who is a Christian, nor do I wish to say that someone’s beliefs are wrong, but from what I stated about how the modern day translators have seriously messed up the Scripture from its original state, I can say that from what people are using as a way to discriminate against gays isn’t true because the real word of God was lost in translation. Same-sex marriage is still marriage, it takes place with friends and family around two people who are in love and they have a server of the Lord perform the ceremony, it is still a sacred act that is a right to all humans. This specific right is one that cannot be taken away. If people believe that this right should be taken away from those who proclaim themselves as being gay, well then one could argue that this sacred act should then be taken away from those who are convicted of murder and are on death row. These people also find love and get married while they are still in jail, so why after committing such a dreadful act that was bad enough that put you on death row, are you allowed to get married without questions and aren’t met with discrimination but when a man and a man (or a woman and a woman) want to get married it is met with a full fury of anger from many people. Same-sex marriage is a sacred act and it will not be taken away from any human being, it is an irrevocable right.
Alsenas, Linas. Gay America: struggle for equality. New York: Amulet Books, 2008.
Andryszewski, Tricia. Same-sex marriage: Moral Wrong or Civil Right? Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2008.
Chauncey, George. Why marriage?: the history shaping today's debate over gay equality. New York: Basic Books, 2004.
Moats, David. Civil wars: A Battle for Gay Marriage. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004.
Myers, David G. What God has joined together?: A Christian case for gay marriage. New York: HapperSanFrancisco, 2005.
NYDailyNews.com. 2011. <http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/same-sex-star-couples-gallery-1.81923>.
Thoroughly Anderson Cooper. 21 September 2011. <http://thoroughlyandersoncooper.blogspot.com/2011/09/helping-others.html>.