Equal Rights for the Gay Community
Dr. Craig Jonas
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
Peace and Conflict Studies
In this country there is a flawed assumption that gay people enjoy the same civil right protections as everyone else and there are a lot of stereotypes about gay relationships. Living as a gay individual in this country can be extremely overwhelming and scary. When it comes to marriage between gay couples, controversy is bound to turn up. There are numerous arguments as to why gay marriage is not “right” such as; it offends everything religion stands for, marriage is for procreation, and gay marriage would legitimize homosexuality. These absurd “reasoning’s” are the stepping stones for the conflict over this issue. In the next few pages I will share how I believe that a lot more open minded individuals could help make this issue non-existent.
Equality for the Gay Community
Legal recognition of same-sex marriage continues to be one of the most socially and legally controversial issues of the day. The legality of same-sex marriage varies greatly by jurisdiction both in the United States and around the world. (Sulewski, 2009) The first recorded same sex marriage was between two men, Pedro Diaz’ and Muño Vandilaz, on April 16th, 1061 in Spain. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to grant same-sex marriages. Proponents argue that same-sex couples should have access to the same marriage benefits and public acknowledgment enjoyed by heterosexual couples and that prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional discrimination. Opponents argue that altering the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman will further weaken a threatened institution and that legalizing gay marriage is a slippery slope that may lead to polygamous and interspecies marriages. (ProCon.Org, 2012)
How it all Began
The first organized gay rights movement took place in the late 19th century in Germany. In the 1920s and into the early 1930s, there were gay communities in cities like Berlin; sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld was one of the most notable spokespeople for gay rights at this time. He founded the Institute for Sexualwissenschaft (institute for sexual research) in 1919 in Berlin. It became renowned not only for its immense library collection; it also provided medical consultations, treatment and educational services for the 20,000 people a year who visited it. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, one of the party's first acts was to burn down Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexualwissenschaft, where many prominent Nazis had been treated for sexual problems. (HAEBERLE, 1981) The Nazis launched a campaign in February 1933 that shut down GLB clubs, banned gay rights organizations and outlawed sex publications. On May 6 while Dr. Hirschfeld was on a lecture tour in the United States, the Deutsche Studentenschaft raided the Institute, seized its extensive list of names and addresses and looted its archives and library. Four days later in the Opernplatz (now the Bebelplatz) the 20,000 books and 5000 images from it were burned along with the works of other 'un-German' books as Joseph Goebbels spoke to a crowd of 40,000 people. (Roberts, 2011) [pic]
Burning of Books in Berlin 1933
A step in the right direction
Gay marriage is considered one of those topics that has no “easy” fix. Finding a middle ground within the gay marriage issue would take both parties unanimously agreeing that gays should or shouldn’t receive the same rights as heterosexual couples. The likes of this happening are slim to none, although, some actions have been recently taken toward making it a better day for gays. (Guy, 2012)
Passionate gay rights advocate and openly gay Washington state senator, Ed Murray, has introduced a...