Gay Rights

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Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives
A personal essay in hypertext by Scott Bidstrup
"We cannot accept the view that Amendment 2's prohibition on specific legal protections does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability on those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint" -Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision overturning Colorado's Amendment 2 referendum |

Ask just about anyone. They'll all tell you they're in favor of equal rights for homosexuals. Just name the situation, and ask. They'll all say, yes, gays should have the same rights in housing, jobs, public accomodations, and should have equal access to government benefits, equal protection of the law, etcetera, etcetera. Then you get to gay marriage. And that's when all this talk of equality stops dead cold. About half of people in the U.S. support gay marriage, far less than those who are otherwise supportive of legally enforced gay rights (about 75%). This means that many of the same people who are even passionately in favor of gay rights oppose gays on this one issue. Why all the passion? It's because there is a lot of misunderstanding about what homosexuality really is, as well as the erroneous assumption that gay people enjoy the same civil rights protections as everyone else. There are also a lot of stereotypes about gay relationships, and even a great deal of misunderstanding of what marriage itself is all about. The purpose of this essay is to clear up a few of these misunderstandings and discuss some of facts surrounding gay relationships and marriage, gay and straight. First, lets discuss what gay relationships are really all about. The long-standing, but increasingly obsolete stereotype has it that gays are promiscuous, unable to form lasting relationships, and the relationships that do form are shallow and uncommitted. And gays do have such relationships! But the important fact to note is that just like in straight society, where such relationships also exist, they are a small minority, and exist primarily among the very young. Indeed, one of the most frequent complaints of older gay men is that it is almost impossible to find quality single men to get into a relationship with, because they're already all 'taken!' If you attend any gay event, such as a Pride festival or a PFLAG convention, you'll find this to be true. As gays age and mature, just like their straight cohorts, they begin to appreciate and find their way into long-term committed relationships. The values that such gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are often indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors. They're loyal to their mates, are monogamous, devoted partners. They value and participate in family life, are committed to making their neighborhoods and communities safer and better places to live, and honor and abide by the law. Many make valuable contributions to their communities, serving on school boards, volunteering in community charities, and trying to be good citizens. In doing so, they take full advantage of their relationship to make not only their own lives better, but those of their neighbors as well. A benefit to heterosexual society of gay marriage is the fact that the commitment of a marriage means the participants are discouraged from promiscous sex. This has the advantage of slowing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which know no sexual orientation and are equal opportunity destroyers. These benefits of gay marriage have changed the attitudes of the majority of people in Denmark and other countries where various forms of gay marriage have been legal for years. Indeed, in 1989, when the proposal to legalize marriage between gays first was proposed in Denmark, the majority of the clergy were opposed. Now, after having seen the benefits to the partners...
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