The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The inevitable equality of gay rights

As one of the “gayest” weeks in American history came to an end on Thursday (Prop 8 was overturned in California, both Washington and New Jersey have made strides in passing marriage equality, Ellen DeGeneres duked it out with conservative group One Million Moms and as it was so poignantly mentioned on “Saturday Night Live,” NBC’s new show “Smash” premiered), one of us was steered into a heated discussion over the merits of the gay rights movement and the push for marriage equality in the United States.

We’ve heard it said both ways: “the Gay Rights Movement is our generation’s Civil Rights movement,” and “Seriously? The Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights movement are nothing alike.” Anyone can see that both movements have a lot in common; however, it’s obvious that they are not the same.

For one thing, gays were never forced into slavery for hundreds of years. And for another, to my knowledge, African Americans were never forcibly lobotomized or castrated to cure them of their skin color.

Lynch mobs were a real threat to many African Americans, and the fate that met Matthew Shepard back in 1998 was just a taste of the level of hatred projected toward the LGBT community.

Both groups have been forced to endure the heavy hand of oppression dealt them by the public majority, but does anyone really carry a patent on discrimination?

After all, no discussion of the persecution of human beings would be complete without even mentioning the trials that Jews have experienced for thousands of years. And let’s not forget the Burmese Indians, who have been the subject of eradication in South-East Asia since the 1960s. Even today, Chinese immigrants are treated like second-class citizens in Indonesia, and government legislation in Europe actively discriminates against the public practice of Islam by Muslim women who choose to wear head-coverings.

Oppression is felt across all borders, faiths, ethnicities and orientations.

Rather than cite the differences between either movement, wouldn’t it be more productive to simply recognize that discrimination, in any form, is morally reprehensible and fundamentally unconstitutional?

We look at Civil Rights activists like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks with admiration and respect because their struggle remains a tangible example of the fight for equality in America, yet we hardly recognize the steps taken by activists such as Harvey Milk or Barbara Gittings to improve the lives of LGBT Americans because their cause was of “lesser importance.”

If anything, the Gay Rights Movement is an egocentric battle for self-promotion, or at least that’s what some seem to believe.

The truth is that gay rights activists are much more than a bunch of “queers” complaining about not being able to get married. Their fight goes far beyond the bounds of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In this country, gay rights are civil rights and civil rights are gay rights. Both movements seek to eliminate the discrimination and inequality exhibited toward minorities in this country.

We can sit around the proverbial camp fire and pick at the differences, or we can own up to the fact that the struggle for civil rights in America did not end in 1964. Universal equality is a moving target, and the fight continues for blacks, whites, Jews, Muslims, gays and straights.

The American Civil Rights Movement is a never-ending battle against inequality, and it takes many forms. No matter what their differences may be, one thing that each movement shares in common is progress.

You can hide behind your religious convictions or cling to your socio-political inclinations, but you will not hinder American progress. Slow-moving as it is, there will be a day when gays and lesbians can get married, raise children, and live their lives without the fear of prejudice.

You can pass your referendums and fight tooth-and-nail to reverse the wheels of progress, but eventually, you will fail. Avoid it while you can because equality is inevitable.

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