And equal rights for gays.
First, let me explain something to you: There will always be people who hate homosexuals or think gay people are social deviants. However, if the government refuses to grant equal rights to gays and lesbians, that gives tacit approval to those bigoted attitudes. Secret Homophobe Over Here thinks he can do whatever he wants and get away with it because even the government doesn’t recognize us as equal citizens.
Here are five anti-gay hate crimes from this summer. These are five reasons why you can’t have separate legislation based on sexuality.
Does the government condone this? No. If the federal government recognizes marriage equality for all people, will homophobia cease to exist? No. But the change in attitude has to start somewhere.
My people—meaning my black people—have been beaten, abused, murdered, and hanged since we were brought to this country. Black people weren’t safe in many parts of the country for centuries for fear that bigoted whites would do us harm or end our lives for simply being black, because whenever those sorts of crimes were committed, the perpetrators had no fear of having to pay for their crimes. Racism was pervasive and ever-present, and the government, while not always explicitly saying so, gave silent approval to the persecution of blacks everywhere by enacting separate laws and making us into second-class citizens. Only when we achieved full equality did things change and now we can leave our homes with a moderate sense of safety.
Are there still racists? Absolutely. Do racially motivated crimes still occur? Yes they do. Do they occur on the same scale with the same frequency of yesteryear before the government recognized us as equal human beings in this country? No.
We’re in the middle of this culture war where a good many of our leaders and lawmakers are passing laws to proclaim gays are not the same as everyone else. Homosexuals need separate laws. Nobody said “go kill gay people” but nobody has to, because that is the tone being set in this country.
There is no way to equate gay marriage with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. I’m still black before I’m gay, because it’s written all over me. I’m black when I leave my house—I’m only gay after I tell you so. There are stumbling blocks and pitfalls everywhere as a result of being black.
But I’m not afraid to walk down the street at night because I’m black.
I’m afraid to walk down the street at night because I’m gay.
So if you don’t believe in gay marriage and equal rights for gays, do believe this: your attitude might not be violent in and of itself, but it fuels the attitudes of others. Getting married to another man doesn’t affect your life in the least. But you telling me I’m not allowed to do so puts a target on my back that says I’m not like the rest of you. Remove the bullseye and let me live my life. It has absolutely nothing to do with how you live yours.