We hope this is the start of a long standing tradition to help highlight the issues and problems facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and will help to bring more knowledge and good will to this campus.
We wish we could write a glowing editorial about the positive things going on in this nation for the LGBT community, but we do not live in a time where such good things exist.
Instead, we live in a time where the LGBT community stands as a group set apart, a group not endowed with the same rights and benefits of citizenship that should be given to every American.
Nineteen states have banned gay people from being married.
Only four states currently allow gay marriages to be performed, as New Hampshire’s law allowing gay marriage does not come into effect until 2010.
Several have written laws to keep gay parents from being able to adopt children.
Insurance privileges and other financial incentives given to other Americans aren’t always extended to gay couples.
Gay men aren’t allowed to donate blood.
Members of the LGBT community can serve their country in the Armed Forces, but only if they stay quiet about who they are and what their orientation is. If word gets out, even the best soldiers are immediately released from duty.
What is wrong with this picture?
In this country, aren’t we supposed to be a nation of equals under the law?
Aren’t we all supposedly endowed with rights and freedoms that cannot be taken away?
The gay community has become a community of second-class citizens, and is being treated by our government as a group that is somehow less than or inferior to other groups.
Perhaps we favor a broad interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, but when it says “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” we take that statement at face value.
By reading it in such a fashion we assume it means that no state should have the ability to deny any privileges of U.S. citizenship to its citizens.
The last time we checked, being gay didn’t disqualify you from being an American, so we have difficulty understanding how things like marriage bans and “Don’t ask, don’t tell” are allowed to happen.
Due to the passage of Proposition 8 in California, there now exists a real example of truly unequal rights.
Gay couples who married before Prop. 8 took effect still have valid marriages, recognized with full legal rights.
Those citizens who chose not to marry during that time are simply out of luck, unable to have their love and commitment recognized by the state.
At it’s core, Prop. 8 was a vote by a small majority of voters that took away legal rights of a group of citizens.
How is this possibly legal?
Haven’t we seen this before? They may have been called Jim Crow laws, but the sentiment feels largely the same.
Honestly, we think the state may just need to get out of the marriage business.
If the government can’t figure out to treat everyone with the same rights and privileges, it goes against the ideals of equality we try to preach around the world.
Let’s end the hypocrisy.
Of course, the gay rights issues are not really legal issues. If the argument is fought on legal grounds, the positions against gay rights become hard to defend.
That’s where the moral argument comes in.
By arguing religious beliefs and tenets as absolute legal facts, by tossing out words like “decaying family values,” “sanctity of marriage” and “Sodom and Gomorrah,” hate becomes legislation.
With the divorce rate being what it is, isn’t the “sanctity of marriage” a contradiction in terms?
Do we really want our government acting as a force for morality?
Aren’t they usually the poster children for immoral behavior?
Moral debates and moral issues belong in our churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, not in the halls of our statehouses.
Our government offices have enough to do without trying to legislate personal morals.
There needs to be vigorous debate in this country on these issues.
We need to examine ourselves and our positions to see what we think, how we feel and why we think that way.
All we know is that laws and policies that put some of our friends and loved ones at a lower level than us can’t be full right.
If a couple wants to adopt a child and raise them in home filled with love and warmth, what does it matter if they are gay or straight?
If people wants to serve his or her country in the armed services to fight for the freedoms we all enjoy, why does who he or she sleep with matter?
If two people love each other and want to commit the rest of their lives to one another, does their sex really matter?
And it shouldn’t any more.