Gay Rights: The New Civil Rights Movement?
Everyone in the world at one time or another has had to fight for something they wanted. Whether it was a job, a relationship, or just something at the corner store. Now, imagine fighting every day of your life for something that almost everyone but you has: your rights. Back in the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. Marches on Congress, civil protests, even boycotts, and though at the time, many viewed it as pointless and simply an annoyance, today we remember it fondly and cherish the gifts of acceptance it has given us. A similar movement is taking place today: the gay rights movement. Although the homosexual population has many of the rights that were denied to African Americans during the civil rights movement, there are some freedoms that are very important to all people that are being stolen from them purely because of their sexual orientation. For example, they are being denied the privilege to serve their country and even to get married to the one they love. Although the movement has been a long time coming, it has been rapidly gaining momentum in the country. All over the world, countries like France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Taiwan and New Zealand have already legalized a gay rights bill, effectively allowing them to have all the same rights that everyone else in the country has. Even here at home, states like New York, Delaware, and Maryland have recognized the rights of their gay population. With the rapid growth of the movement, many are surprised that gay rights is even still being debated.
The issue of gay rights has been a seed planted thousands of years ago when even Roman soldiers turned to homosexuality and has been growing into the thriving flower it is today. For years, being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered was completely taboo and it wasn’t until recent years that it has become considered, at least by some, to be a socially acceptable subject, even becoming a popular subject in media via television shows such as Fox’s Glee and NBC’s Smash. With the growing popularity of the issue in media and news, support for the movement has also been growing. A national research survey performed by Pew Research Center found Americans supporting gay rights forty-nine percent to forty-four percent. When narrowed down to eighteen to thirty-two year olds, approval rose to seventy percent. (“Gay Marriage Not Just Legality”) In states all over the nation and countries all over the world, people are showing their pride in their sexuality instead of hiding it, having rallies, protests , and gay pride festivals without shame. In many places, even people who are vehemently straight and never have considered homosexuality attend such events to show their support for the gay population and their rights. Earlier this year on January third, the first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin was sworn into office as the senator of Wisconsin. In her acceptance speech, she acknowledged that she was also Wisonsin’s first female senator. Her running opponent was ex-Wisconsin senator Tommy Thompson. In her acceptance speech, when talking about her position as the first openly gay senator in America, she stated, “I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.” (Phillip). The newly elected senator’s victory is a perfect example of how people are becoming more accepting of gays in the nation.
Many people believe that denying gay people the rights of every American citizen purely because of their sexual orientation is encroaching on their civil rights as an American. Something as sacred and longed for as marriage is something that should not be denied to any man or woman purely because of the sex of the person they want to marry. The issue of marriage equality is arguably one of the most prominent points enveloped in gay rights. Of course, there’s more to gay rights than just marriage, but at the moment, with all the attention it has been getting in the...
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