Civil rights should include gay rights

Recent triumphs for human rights have been on the rise. These triumphs belong to our gay and lesbian friends and loved ones, and have been long in the making.

New York Gov. David A. Paterson introduced a bill into the New York Legislature to legalize gay marriage Thursday in the New York legislature.

In an April 16 New York Times article, Jeremy Peters reported that Gov. Paterson boldly devoted his time and efforts to ensuring equality.

‘We have a duty to make sure equality exists for everyone,’ Paterson said in a press conference.

Paterson discussed 1800’s abolition, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the mid-1800’s reviled Dred Scott v. Stanton Supreme Court case in his claim that New York had egregiously neglected gay rights.

‘I’m putting a stop to it,’ Paterson said in the conference.

The uprising of lawmakers and politicians comes amid the recent progress in our country.

This past month Iowa and Vermont passed laws legalizing gay marriage, other states such as New York and New Hampshire are debating the issue.

Despite all of this hard earned, patiently awaited progress, some anti-gay groups are also dialing up their fight against the well-deserved freedom and liberties of our friends and loved ones.

Groups such as the National Organization for Marriage have demonstrated insular ideals and homophobic hindering. NOM recently released a video titled Gathering Storm.

In a brilliantly hilarious video aired on the Colbert Report, Colbert mimicked the video with his own version.

Colbert’s version exemplifies how closed-minded and weak the anti-gay movement has become.

In Colbert’s video, an actor asks a question, that perfectly sums up the feeling of the diminishing group of people who still oppose gay marriage.

‘Did you know that if all 50 states approve gay marriage, straight marriage becomes illegal?’ said an actor in Colbert’s film.

This question, which is delivered with Colbert’s unmatched skill for wit and sarcasm, accurately identifies the ignorant and dismissible premise of anti-gay marriage activists.

One fundamental idea many people against gay marriage refuse to accept and realize is all that is desired by gays and lesbians is the equal right that is rightfully theirs.

After Colbert’s spoof commercial ends, he sarcastically warns the viewers.
‘ ‘Remember when the gay community is granted personal freedoms, ours get taken away,’ Colbert said.

This is another jab at the futile fears and senseless reasoning of anti-gay marriage activists. Again, Colbert’s question perfectly highlights the weak and meaningless arguments presented in the original video and of the movement of people against gay marriage.

Allowing other human beings the basic legal right to marry their loved one does not hurt anyone. It also does not subtract from what any group might have. If anything, it only strengthens the presence of love in our society.

As Frank Rich accurately pointed out in his article titled, ‘The Bigots’ Last Hurrah,’ the strength of the opposition toward gay marriage and the movement for gay rights is weakening.

‘What gives the ad its symbolic significance is not just that it’s idiotic, but that its release was the only loud protest anywhere in America to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in Iowa and Vermont.’

If it advances any message, it’s mainly that homophobic activism is ever more depopulated and isolated as well as brain-dead’ Rich said.

He’s right, but unfortunately, the only people left fighting are some of the most powerful and highly funded.

‘The only enthusiastic contenders seem to be republicans contemplating presidential runs in 2012,’ Rich said.

Some republicans who may consider running in 2012, or who are at the forefront of the GOP, have trumped, such as anti-gay activist, Rick Warren.

‘In 2008, 60 percent of Iowa’s republican caucus voters were Evangelical Christians. Mike Huckabee won,’ Rich said. ‘That’s the hurdle facing the party’s contenders in 2012, which is why Romney, Palin and Gingrich are now all more vehement anti-same-sex-marriage activists than Rick Warren.’

This intensity of objection does not promise an easy battle, but if we, as citizens, continue to convince lawmakers and keep progress going forward, eventually political candidates will follow.

Some have realized fighting this movement of equality and equal civil rights can be damaging to their political careers.

‘One GOP politician who understands this is the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign strategist, Steve Schmidt, who on Friday urged his party to join him in endorsing same-sex marriage,’ Rich said.

‘It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid,’ he said.

One day we will celebrate and commend ourselves for reaching a historic moment and period in civil rights history. That day and defining moment will be in our lifetime, possibly within the next two to three years.

The progress made possible by Paterson and other lawmakers is already commendable, and will not perish.

If this movement for equality and civil rights is metaphorically a storm, those people clinging to umbrellas and refusing to venture outdoors will eventually realize they cannot stop the surge.

Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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