Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Why "Gay Rights" Matter

One of the questions I am most often asked is why, as a heterosexual male, I take such a strong interest in gay rights. Anyone who has read musclehead more than once will notice that issues pertaining to gay equality take up quite a bit of this space. And while I would not say that I am obsessed with equal rights for gays and lesbians, it is one of the issues I care most about and also one of the issues that hastened my departure from the GOP several years ago.

But why do gay rights matter? From my persepective equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians is a basic human/civil right. I wholeheartedly believe that people should be free to choose their life partner and to have the state recognize and accept that choice in a legal sense. Let us be clear that equal marriage rights in no way are meant to force churches, synagogues or mosques to perform same sex wedding ceremonies. While I would hope for some progressive denominations to openly endorse same sex ceremonies, I realize that we are quite a ways from such recognition and acceptance.

Perhaps what motivates and animates my passion for equal marriage rights is the same beliefs held by male supporters of the women's suffrage movement or the white folks who opposed slavery, and later Jim Crow. None of these people had what would be termed a personal stake in these movements, except their basic belief in human rights and universal values. Like those who came before me, I believe that we, as a people, are better when all the members of our community are welcomed, tolerated and accepted. To me, it is just that simple.


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