Monday, October 12, 2009

Are Gay Rights Right? Share Your Thoughts...

Following President Obama's remarks at the Human Rights Campaign event and last weekend's march in Washington, everyone is talking about gay rights. But are gay rights right?

In other words, are there any additional rights gays lack in American society? The three big ones under discussion currently include:

1. Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Should the military discharge openly gay homosexuals?

2. Hate Crimes: Should a person who physically hurts someone due to their color or sexual orientation be punished for an additional crime?

3. Same Sex Marriage/Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships: Four states have legalized same-sex marriage; one (Nevada) has approved domestic partnerships (for both same-sex and heterosexual couples). Eventually, the national level will have to make a decision. What decision is best for the nation?

As a person who follows the teachings of the Bible, I consider these three issues extremely important. For example, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is conflicting because it deals both with a person's personal actions and national security. There's a lot to debate here, but the numbers are already in favor of this law being ended soon, so I'm not going to dive into it more here.

Hate crimes are a second distinct category. Gay activists argue it is necessary, appealing to the case of Matthew Shepard. While his case was a tragedy, I see two problems with this bill. First, it is currently lumped in with the military spending bill. Does anyone else see this as a conflict of interests? Hate crimes are important enough to be handled separately, and I propose that they should be.

In addition, hate crimes appear redundant. If one person beats up another person, it is a crime (assault). But if the victim claims to be beaten due to racism or sexual orientation, it is suddenly two crimes: assault and a hate crime. Is this really necessary?

Finally, there is the same-sex marriage issue. As a Christian, I hold to marriage as a sacred covenant between a man an a woman. I've been married for 11 years and plan to stay that way. However, I understand there are legal and insurance issues at stake for same-sex couples. Couldn't a domestic partnership of some type (similar to Nevada's recently passed law) address this concern without changing the definition of marriage? If not, why not?

I realize in posting on this controversial topic, people from all sides will end up angry. I encourage you to comment on this issue in a civil way and not personally attack others who comment. Let's have a healthy debate on this issue and show the same respect Christ would for opposing views in the process.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Regarding the don't ask don't tell policy, I believe that what people do in their private personal lives, should remain private and personal unless they are breaking the law. I do not feel that being gay, bisexual or lesbian is breaking any laws other than Biblical restrictions set forth hundreds of years ago. Personally, I feel that a loving relationship between two consenting adults should be accepted whether it is between same sex or opposite. There is already TOO much HATE in this world, I don't think someone should be condemned or judged or denied any love in their life.

Regarding hate crime laws, I, too, agree that a crime is a crime regardless of the intent or reason for the crime. However, due to the everlasting prejudice in this world, committing a crime strictly because of a hatred towards an individual, whether it is based on race, religion, or sexual orientation should be not be tolerated. I believe that the hate crime laws help to deter people who might act out on vicious hate crimes from following through on the violent, torturous acts. Even if it stops one person from being killed or brutalized, isn’t it worth the threat of a more severe punishment??

Regarding same-sex marriage/unions/domestic partnership, again I think there is already TOO much HATE in this world, I don't think someone should be condemned or judged for loving someone else. I believe that all people should be given the same rights. I know many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who would love to get married and have that marriage recognized by the public, just like straight or heterosexual couples. Many grow up, just like I did, dreaming of a wedding in front of their friends and families. I think they should have that right, and not be denied that based solely upon their sexual orientation.

Personally, I think that religion is a personal choice, and I don’t think that we should force our personal or religious beliefs on others. I am not saying that is what you or even other people do, but it is done in many forms and fashions across the board. As Christians, we should open the doors for others into our religion and let them decide for themselves. It is not up to us to condemn, deny rights, or judge in any way, that is for God to decide. It is our responsibility to help introduce and guide others to Christ and let them decide. It is a personal choice, and it is important for us to be open, loving, and compassionate for others among all walks of life.

I also don’t believe that sexual orientation is a choice. I don’t think that anyone in his or her right mind would “CHOOSE” to live that lifestyle because of the scrutiny of the general public. Yes, it has recently become more accepted, but it is still an extremely difficult way to live a life. Life can be difficult enough, so why would someone want to make it more difficult???

… that is my thoughts on the topics… however controversial they might be…

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the military would discharge openly gay soldiers. If someone wants to defend our country - as long as they are physically and mentally able - they should be permitted to.

As far as marriage rights are concerned, I believe that gay couples should have the societal rights and benefits that married couples enjoy: taxes, insurance, and things like that. I also believe that if we're going to take a stand on "the bible says marriage is intended for a man and a woman" then we should also stand up for other teachings of the bible. Isn't it written that sex is intended for a man and his wife? How many Christians have had sex before they're married? Isn't marriage supposed to last until death? How many Christians have been divorced? It's probably just easier to take a stand on this issue because homosexuality isn't as socially acceptable as premarital sex or divorce.

About me - I've been married for 6 years, and I don't plan on going anywhere. I believe that God intended for men to marry women only. I also believe that God sees sin as sin, no matter how big or small we make it. Finally, I believe that when Jesus said that I should take the log out of my own eye before worrying about the speck in my brother's, he was talking to me. (But not just me, he he)

First Time Post! Roger

DILLON BURROUGHS said...

Thanks to all for the comments. For those unaware, on Facebook.com/dillonburroughs there have been over 150 comments and growing on this. I was not prepared for this response, but it has opened up a lot of discussion and lots of room for learning. Feel free to keep sending the comments. I will post anything relevant that is not a personal attack. Thanks!

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