When I was still in college, it occurred to me that while I was not homophobic and supported gay rights, I had not been around homosexuals much. At that point I had only known a few gay people, and had never been to a gay bar. Homosexuals didn’t seem to be openly so very often, which I realized was understandable, given the bigotry that surrounds them. This was in the 80s, so we were on that weird cusp between the pro-diversity culture engendered by the Civil Rights Movement, and the growing social conservatism exemplified by Ronald Reagan and his followers — in which, apparently, stagnant uniformity is the goal. So, gay people did sometimes come out, but homophobic thinking was still prevalent, and seemed to me to be on the rise again. The appearance of AIDS stoked the flames of homophobia and further discouraged homosexuals from coming out.

I have been a social liberal since starting to think about these things for myself (stagnant uniformity doesn’t appeal to me or make sense), and people who embrace homophobia puzzled me then as much as now. But the question then, it seems to me, was somewhat different than it is now: can we as a society ‘tolerate’ openly gay people? I thought in those days that even implicitly posing such a troglodytic question was stupid and inconsistent with the principles of liberty that we base our society on, and I still think so.

Nowadays, the questions are slightly different, however: should gay people be “allowed” to marry? Should they be “allowed” to fight for their country? This slight shift is because, on the issue of homosexuality, many heterosexuals have magnanimously decreed that “there’s nothing wrong with that,” at least in terms of simply being gay. This is indeed progress, and progress on a point of contention with social conservatives deserves acknowledgment and appreciation. But is this progress enough?

I don’t think so. I am disappointed and concerned that we still feel justified even asking whether or not any person or group of people in this country deserves fair and equal treatment, equal opportunity, and equal rights. The answer to that question, no matter who we are talking about, is always and emphatically “yes.” We all know it, and the rest is just bigotry, ignorance, and smoke & mirrors. If someone tried to make the serious argument that 2 + 2 = 5, would we consider the argument on its merits? Doubtful (unless you just enjoy intellectual exercises). But we still give serious consideration to the argument that homosexuals deserve fewer rights and privileges than heterosexuals, which does not hold water, either. Why?

Consider that most people, for example, looking at how and why black people were originally brought to this country, and at how they have often been treated subsequently, would agree that this kind of disregard for the humanity of other human beings is nothing short of wrong. Yet, the Abolitionist Movement was controversial in its day, to say the least. Most of us would agree with the general statement of liberty that our Constitution makes. Yet, somehow, more than 200 years after the Declaration of Independence, we still have to debate to whom the phrase “all men” refers. We know that it should refer  to everyone — white, black, Asian, Hispanic, straight, gay, male, female, young, old, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, and more — yet, somehow, we have to pretend that there’s ambiguity and continue to field the arguments of bigotry. This infuriates me. It divides us over an issue that shouldn’t even be an issue and takes our eyes off of what should be the ball, not to mention that it defies one of our most basic governing principles.

Even President Obama, who is obviously more enlightened than former-President Bush, is equivocal on the subject of gay marriage and slow to enable open homosexuality in the military (which is still better than Michael Steele’s stance on social issues). True, Mr. Obama must gauge the political wind and act circumspectly if he expects to be effective, but why aren’t more of us reminding the President (and each other) that gay people are just that: people? To say otherwise is to endorse the segregationist policies of the past, merely applying modern versions of them to people for reasons other than being black or female. I believe that this is the civil rights issue of our day (unless it is joined by serious public debate as to whether or not we should treat Muslims in this country the way Nazis treated the Jews). We should lay this anachronistic prejudice to rest, once and for all.

I had thought about addressing some of the arguments advanced by the anti-homosexual-rights apologists, such as their famous devotion to Leviticus 18:22 and it’s declaration about men lying with men being an “abomination,” and how this is one rule in a very long list of other rules, most of which we never hear anything about (e.g. copulation during menstruation is cause for banishment). However, this is not an issue that turns on reason. Making reason-based arguments from the Bible is a Sisyphean endeavor anyway since, if you know where to look and you choose to ignore Jesus’ clear, overall message, you can argue for or against just about anything. In point of fact, in many places the Bible tacitly condones slavery by stipulating how slaves should be treated. Does that mean we should re-enact slavery, since the Bible supports it? Who would seriously argue that? And who would give serious consideration to such an argument?

I think the real questions we need to ask ourselves are these: are we a nation that supports liberty and human rights or not? If we are, then how can we say that some people effectively aren’t human enough to deserve the same rights and privileges as others? The answers are pretty clear: we are and we can’t.

-EAB

39 Responses to “Who Counts as a Real Person?”

  1. i hope to god! 😀 cause im hitchhiking out to san fransisco that year (: i would do it earlier buuuuut id still be underage.

  2. hamshenski blaese says:

    I hate it when u work hard and people dont know how to appreciate it. Plus, u still remain anonymous after 2 months. Grr! Equality, please.

  3. I thought it was fantastic when Van Jones pointed out what the war veterans will have to come home to. It’s a scary realization but it really needs to be, not only addressed, but actually dealt with.

  4. dycker mundschide says:

    We are getting the warnings from people like yourself posting on the youtube. This trainwreck in slow motion is so obvious and right in front of us – that we see it! I sold my house 2 years ago and bought all the gold i could.

  5. Attackers have been targeting chemical and defense companies around the world in a cyber-campaign designed to steal information.According to researchers, the campaign began in late April, and was initially focused on human rights organizations and later the motor industry. In late July, the attackers moved on to the chemical industry and began targeting 29 companies.At least 48 companies are believed to have been targeted across various including the defense industry, Symantec found. Among the victims are multiple 100 companies involved in research and development of chemical compounds as well as companies that develop materials for military vehicles.The attacks infected computers with the well-known PoisonIvy Trojan and have been dubbed ‘Nitro’ by Symantec, which released a whitepaper on the situation earlier today.

  6. on Friday za 2 men attended a joint military commemoration n Cannes standing coatless n a cold rain praising friendship

  7. don’t you realize that most people are none too bright, simple, dumb, stiffs fit only to work and pay exorbitant taxes and breed future workers and soldiers

  8. farisson bard says:

    “Homophobic individuals live a very unhealthy and domestic lifestyle. Homophobic persons are 4x more likely to end up in prison by the age of 25 than the average adult.” (Stonewall News; 2011)

  9. You have to be kidding. Druggies?? you said? LOL LOL LOL LOL. jajaajaajajajajaajaaja you have no idea lolololoolol go back to preschool. you…. WE do not have a problem when it comes to drugs abuse, what those people fight is for who gets to the most of the illigal drugs to the U.S. “Druggies”. Pardon my English is my 4th language and i still make some mistakes. バカ、アホ

  10. staeber jeman says:

    stupid video! why? because, this war is for money and greed, you and me would be more free today had this war not been our freedoms are slipping our fingers because of this invasion! don’t with 9/11 and the osama did it and all that jazz, as an excuse for this war, because 9/11 was planned! by your own

  11. Most songs use the same intervals for chords, not always the same exact chords. Although the most used chords would probably be the B-flat E-flat G minor(i think) and F

  12. Famous band ships’ has a member of the band who has more comedy awards than anyone in any other band.

  13. kat elhoudorf says:

    To deny kids justice because our adversarial system fails to protect them from peadophiles is a human rights abuse

  14. miler greml says:

    Sure aspects are corrupt; like the fact that we have commercials for drugs everywhere, but like I said this video isn’t pointing out that states should control taxes and that the federal government is too powerful. It’s simply a ignorant video complaining about taxes in general.

  15. I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, or gay. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.

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  17. broemett norald says:

    All the other candidates are nothing but a bunch of (terrible) soap opera actors. WIthout a dialogue que, written by the college educated kids they have working for them, they have any idea what to say.

  18. boom emers says:

    INDIA deadliest place in WORLD for girl child-TOI
    we talk about women empowerment,education,equality.such a double faced we are.SHAME on us! – http://twitter.com/princes

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  20. twicarlins klot says:

    No, do not mix them up. are not necessarily globalists. Ron Paul is not a globalist. Ron Paul is obviously not “of the system” because the system hates him and works against him. I am not a but still i have more in common with Ron Paul (and Alain Soral) than i have with any regular politician. It is as Soral says, we are nowadays divided in “globalists” and “non-globalists.” Nothing else.

  21. Idk about anyone else, but rather go save people from a burning building than threaten my life catching a fish

  22. schapert ton says:

    The City of Boston has agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit. Glik was arrested in 2007 on Boston Common for using his cell phone to record the arrest of another man. Police then arrested Glik, too, and charged him under the strict Massachusetts wiretapping statute. They eventually dropped the charges, but with the help of the Massachusetts ACLU, Glik filed a civil lawsuit against the city for false arrest. Last year, the United States of Appeals for the First Circuit unanimously ruled that Glik had a “clearly established” First Amendment right to record the actions of public officials on a public sidewalk. Boston finally admitted it had made a mistake earlier this year, and Boston taxpayers will now be paying for the screw-up. “The law had been clear for years that openly recording a video is not a crime,” Glik said in a statement. “It’s sad that it takes so much for police to learn the laws they were supposed to know in…

  23. tad sidda says:

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  24. So I had a discussion with my friends yesterday about homosexuality. It is the 21st century and being homophobic should be a crime.

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  27. scrolling thru tv guide and on military channel it’s the fatal attraction of Adolfo hitler and next is nazi UFO conspiracy

  28. Veteran of war crimes tribunals, Ben Emmerson, is frontrunner for top legal post in election to be held on 25 June MPs aiming to claw back powers from Europe have secretly interviewed candidates to become Britain’s next judge at the European of human rights. The interviews with MPs and peers introduce an extra level of scrutiny into selecting who will eventually sit on Europe’s appeals system. The development, which Westminster hopes will improve accountability in Strasbourg, was devised by the parliamentary delegation to the Council for Europe and chaired by the Conservative MPs Oliver Heald and Walter. Eurosceptic critics have lambasted the for being a remote, unrepresentative panel – although judges in Strasbourg are elected. The byzantine appointments procedure involves members of the Council of Europe, which oversees the ECHR, interviewing candidates from a country’s of three and the whole assembly – several hundred strong – choosing the final winner….

  29. tved hadec says:

    “America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way around. Human rights invented America.” – Jimmy

  30. behner coon says:

    In a free society, the govt’s job is simply to protect – the people do the rest #tlot –

  31. masuo anguorinki says:

    Dear Americans, Canada legalized gay marriage 7 years ago and we have yet to burn in a pit of hellfire. You won’t either.

  32. Is That Even A Question. Better Get Your Ass In That Kitchen and Work Girl *gay boy voice* lmao. Should I cook ?

  33. camba jaffiello says:

    Schools need discipline, not more civil rights enforcement
    Opelousas Daily World
    For Duncan, the civil rights issue was that black elementary and high school students are disciplined at a higher rate than whites. His evidence for discrimination is that blacks are 3-1/2 more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers …
    and more »

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  35. Politicians and human rights groups say people from traditionally lower status Asian backgrounds need legal protection A coalition of community groups, human rights organisations and politicians has renewed its call for the government to tackle caste discrimination in the UK by introducing legal protection for those from traditionally lower status Asian backgrounds. Although a section of the Equality Act 2010 could offer lower-caste Asians a legal safeguard against discrimination, it has not been activated despite repeated demands from campaigners. of the legislation say the law is needed to prevent discrimination at work, in the classroom and in the health service. Two separate studies – one commissioned by the government from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (Niesr) after the act was amended to include the power to extend protection against discrimination and harassment to caste – have the existence of caste-based discrimination in the UK,…

  36. No matter WHAT the subject matter is political correctness is NOT a good thing, but especially in military strength & strategy.

  37. Homosexuality was still classified as an illness in Sweden in 1979. Swedes protested by calling in sick to work, claiming they felt gay.

  38. yagapinno mcnewton says:

    Quran 7:80 is in error on 2 counts. 1) homosexuality is found throughout history 2) Was even legalised in Roma …

  39. sano kugarez says:

    “A nearly 2,600-year-old clay cylinder described as the world’s first human rights declaration is being shown for the first time in the United States. The Cyrus Cylinder from ancient Babylon will be displayed beginning Saturday at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery. It will be in Washington through April 28, on loan from the British Museum. A yearlong U.S. tour will follow, with exhibitions planned in Houston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The cylinder carries an account, written in cuneiform, of how Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. and would allow freedom of worship and abolish forced labor. The account also confirms a story from the Bible’s Old Testament, describing how Cyrus released people held captive to go back to their homes, including the Jews’ return to Jerusalem to build the Temple.”

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