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.