Gay Rights Now

Today on AMERICAblog, Rob in Baltimore discusses the Mary Cheney issue and why he thinks it shouldn't go away. I don't believe this issue should just go away, either.

Because I am straight, sometimes I've been told that I don't have a right to have an opinion on this issue, but ultimately, my passionate support of gay rights is motivated by two things: one, my firm belief in the equality of every American, and two, my belief that it is the obligation of everyone who holds a right that is withheld from others to fight for the extension of that right to their fellow citizens.

I am guided by a quote that is attributed to Reverend Martin Niemoller, a practicing Protestant minister in Germany, in 1945: "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."

First and foremost, the issue is ensuring equality because it's a Constitutional guarantee. Secondly, if we let this administration get away with marginalizing gays and lesbians as a political tool, who will be next? Not standing up to such tactics is akin to passively endorsing the slippery slope toward fascism.

I also believe that straight people have a particular obligation in the fight against the Marriage Amendment because the primary excuse given for codifying discrimination into the Constitution is ostensibly to help us somehow, to "protect the sanctity" of our marriages. My marriage needs no such protection.

I acknowledge that the given reason is, of course, bunk, that even the most virulently anti-gay crusaders have no real belief that allowing gay marriage would subvert straight marriage, but as long as they are using that as an excuse to perpetuate discrimination, it needs to be challenged on its face, until they are left with no legitimate reasons, and their disgusting, baseless prejudices are revealed for what they are.

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