Monday, June 1, 2009

Same-sex Marriage Is a Civil Rights Issue

In a commentary appearing in the Lodi News-Sentinel on October 16, 2008, writer Frank Nolton concluded that same-sex marriage was not a civil rights issue, stating his views that “societal moral convictions on what is natural and normal.  And these moral convictions have been held for centuries.  No, gay marriage is not about civil rights, it is about approval.  It is about a small percentage of the population working to have their behavior, which the majority of Americans find morally wrong, accepted as normal by society.  In deciding about Prop. 8, keep this in mind.”

Obviously, the majority of Californians have had this same impression and felt that they should legislate the behavior of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trangendered people by rewriting the constitution and using their religious beliefs in “changing behavior” of a minority group.

The fact is, for centuries, “moral convictions” have been based on false assumptions without any supporting evidence that LGBT behavior is a “choice.”  Recent medical findings have proven that these behaviors are genetically linked.  Therefore, we do not have a choice whether we are born heterosexual or homosexual.  Therefore, there should be even more supporting reasons to believe that same-sex marriage should be considered as a civil rights issue – especially when the California State Supreme Court granted the validity of 18,000 same-sex marriage, but denies the same rights to future same-sex couples.  This is purely human injustice just because some people, based on their religious and societal beliefs felt this was wrong, and that these people have a “choice” that they can easily live alternative life-styles.

The majority of us may think that it is natural for a man and woman to live together.  I am not the one to deny the freedom of speech and expression.  On the other hand, I also grant the right to those who feel that it is also natural for a man and man, and woman and woman, to live together.  They too, have the same equal right to speech and expression as granted heterosexual couples.  However, with the passage of Prop. 8, we have denied these people their fundamental rights of expression.  There are many reasons why Prop. 8 should be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Prop. 8 clearly violates civil rights of a minority group let alone having taken away fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution as well.

Who are we to dictate their behavior?  Religion should be a personal belief – not something forced upon others.  This is why we are guaranteed the freedom of religion.  And, not all Christian denominations follow the same doctrines.  In fact, many Christian denominations do not have a doctrine.  So who are you to force your doctrine on others?  Just because you just so happen to be in the simple majority at the voting booth, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is right, or should be accepted by others.  In fact, the re-writing of the California State Constitution should have required a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority.  Clearly, Prop. 8 did not pass with a two-thirds majority.

Marriage licenses are issued by the county government – not the church.  Therefore, same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue and therefore, the church should not dictate to government who may or may not receive marriage licenses.  The Constitution guarantees equality for all, not based on preferences by the majority of a particular set of religious or societal beliefs.  It’s time that we quit living in the past, and press forward into the new millennium.  As long as we continue to hold onto beliefs that are centuries old, we will never progress as a society, but we will continue to reject men and make life difficult by creating barriers and road-blocks for living.  Each person should be guaranteed the freedom of living – free from societal or religious impositions and laws based on false or theoretical assumptions or that, “this is the way it’s always has been done.”

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