Sunday, March 8, 2009

What rights are we talking about for Gays?

The recent news accounts of the oral argument in the California case challenging Proposition 8, prominently featured Gay Rights activists chanting "We want our rights" over and over. What rights are they claiming? What about my rights and the rights of my ancestors?

Do they have the right to vote?
Of course, no Gay person has been denied the right to vote merely because they were Gay.
My ancestors were disenfranchised by the United States Government and forcibly expelled from the country.

Do they have the right to peaceable assembly?
Of course, they do. They demonstrated that in California this week.
My ancestors were mobbed and forcibly expelled from Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and ultimately the United States entirely. My own great grandfather was mobbed and beaten and left for dead because of his beliefs.

They claim they want the "right to marry."
My own grandfather was arrested, tried and sent to Federal prison for his beliefs concerning marriage. All of my ancestors had their religious property expropriated and taken by the United States Government, who sent an army to enforce the taking.

Do Gays have the right to free speech?
Once again to California, last week, who stopped them from speaking?
However, they would deny me the right to speak and to vote and to peaceable assembly.

Do they have the right to bear arms?
Yes, certainly, just as many of my ancestors fought in every war on the side of the United States from the Revolutionary War to the War in Vietnam. I presently have relatives who are serving or have served in Iraq.

Do they have they have freedom of religion and the right to worship as they please.
Yes, but they would deny me the same right.

Excuse me if I don't quite see what rights they are claiming to have been denied. They can work, they can go to school, they can assemble, they can vote, they can eat at any restaurant and stay at any hotel they choose, they can travel freely throughout the United States, they can pay taxes just like the rest of us.

Maybe they want the right to pay divorce lawyers, the right to pay alimony, the right to child custody battles, and the right to unfair treatment by the tax laws that prevent older people from marrying.

Would they like my ancestors' rights, the ones they didn't have when they were mobbed, shot, killed and died crossing the country, fleeing from mob violence and oppression?

Exactly what rights are we talking about?

1 comment:

  1. "They claim they want the "right to marry."
    My own grandfather was arrested, tried and sent to Federal prison for his beliefs concerning marriage. All of my ancestors had their religious property expropriated and taken by the United States Government, who sent an army to enforce the taking."

    So of course, this makes it ok for us to write our own religious beliefs about marriage into the state constitution right? Maybe next year we should try and add a line about polygamy.

    "Do they have they have freedom of religion and the right to worship as they please.
    Yes, but they would deny me the same right."

    Actually, this a common misconception. While there are certainly gay people out there who would like a gay wedding, most of them have been so damaged, abused, and hurt by the church that they would never consider trying to get a marriage from the church. I believe the church has the right to perform marriages based on its own criteria. The Catholic church doesn't believe in divorce, and no one forces them to marry individuals who have already been divorced. Gay marriage would be no different.

    Looking at the broader perspective, you're right of course. In California, gay individuals really do have a lot of rights. Unfortunately, that's only in California. Take a short drive to Utah, and even if you are a faithful, covenant keeping member, if someone thinks you look, act, or might in any way be gay, they can fire you from your job and evict you from your home. Even something as basic as hospital visitation rights doesn't exist in the state of Utah.

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