The Fight for Gay Rights (by Nick Rankin)

Dear Honorable Ron Wyden,

I, like millions of fellow Americans, are fortunate enough to have been born in this amazing country.  To even greater fortune my parents chose to settle in the best state, Oregon. I have lived in and loved this state since I was born at St. Vincent Hospital. I have lived in the Portland Metro area for all of my near 21 years and have been through our public schools, community college and state college. I have grown to love this country as much as I’ve grown to love the view of Mt. Hood, the endless oceans of evergreens and the loving people this state possesses.  I was born an Oregonian and I will die an Oregonian.

As I’ve grown up, as one does, I’ve become more aware of the social issues that work to shape the culture in which we live. One that has come to disturb me is the debate over marriage, but more over “gay rights”. This issue disturbs me for a few reasons. Firstly and maybe most important is the issue in our Constitution; the First Amendment states that there is to be a separation between church and state. This separation, as I was taught, was to bring religious freedom to American citizens by not having a national religion, a freedom to choose whatever religion they desire, and a freedom to abstain from all religions. It is of my opinion that laws/amendments such as Measure 36, voted in 2004, are in direct confrontation to those rights that the First Amendment guarantees to American citizens.

The second issue that disturbs me is how a group of people, being majority or not, is able to diminish the rights of those who share a different viewpoint. When Measure 36 was voted into law it stepped on the rights of those who view marriage as something different than the “one man, one woman” ideal. To restrict all citizens to one archetype is, in my eyes, against what it means to be an American. As Americans we cherish the unique, the special, the pioneers, and never betray each other; yet it seems this America my only exists to me. I want to live in an America where we are willing to help a neighbor for an hour to save them two, where people respect the rights of other as much as their own, and where those with power and money work to protect those without. It disturbs me to watch as Americans step on each other to gain inches in life and spare nothing for fellow Americans to obtain a simple a thing as healthcare.

The final issue I wish to mention is the attitude that is surrounding the anti-gay argument and the origins of the anti-gay stance. It appears to be that the majority of those who hold the anti-gay stance are those who are Judeo-Christian and share that religious belief on the matter. This stance is derived from the bible verse Leviticus 18:21 where the act of lying with another man was described as “detestable”. There are many things in the bible that readers are told to not do, not eat, or mainly avoid but in this instance the author chose to use the term we translate to “detestable”. The bible doesn’t say to stone the person(s) to death, like it does for working on the Sabbath, instead it merely states it’s disapproval of the action. One of the biggest questions I have regarding this issue is toward those who are working to enforce their anti-gay ideal: Why is gay marriage such a pressing concern when something such as mixing linens, working on the Sabbath, and cutting your beard are specific instructions from the lord? Yet it seems no one cares how many people break those laws. The answer I would assume I would get is one that would talk about how laws like those no longer hold relevance due to culture change and period in human history. I would immediately ask whether persecution of the homosexual community is currently relevant to humanity or our American culture; to this I would say, emphatically, no. I see no economical or socio-economical gain from restricting the rights of homosexuals in Oregon or around the United States. I believe it is time for people to stop living in fear of rejection, persecution, and discrimination.

In our own history as a country we’ve seen ourselves end persecution toward certain minorities.  These include African Americans, Chinese, Mexicans, and women. In our 236 years as a country we have made great strides in working toward equality, peace, and prosperity. I believe it is time that we add another minority to that list and end this senseless persecution over whom someone chooses to love. I hope I live to see the day when two people who love each other are able to share a legally binding ceremony in any of our 50 states.

 

Thank you for your time,

With much respect,

Nicholas J. Rankin

****

The Research Collection

Brewer, Paul R. “The Shifting Foundations of Public Opinion about Gay Rights.” The Journal of

Politics 65.04 (2003): 1208-220. Print.

 

This article acknowledges a trend starting in the 1990’s on the attitude toward gay and lesbian rights. Homosexuality has become increasingly viewed as an acceptable lifestyle and Paul Brewer works to define what changes in America brought on this change in public opinion.

This article gives evidence in sociology and history to account for the change in public opinion revolving this issue.

 

****

Kurdek, Lawrence A. “Are Gay and Lesbian Cohabiting Couples Really Different from Heterosexual

Married Couples?” Journal of Marriage and Family 66.4 (2004): 880-900. Print.

 

Lawrence Kurdek writes in this article about the differences between heterosexual and homosexual couples from an empirical standpoint. Kurdek determines variables, performs a longitudinal study, and compares the results.

This Article can be very useful to me by giving evidence from Kurdek’s study showing support in favor of homosexual couples.

 

****

Preston, Patrick. “Before Gay Marriage in Oregon, State Constitution Must Be Amended.”KATU.

KATU News, 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.katu.com/politics/For-gay-marriage-to-happen-in-Ore-state-const-must-be-amended-139067379.html&gt;.

 

This Article talks about how a gay marriage ballot would not be appearing on the 2012 ballot. It also talks about the amendment in the Oregon constitution voted in during the 2004 election that defines marriage as one man and one woman. If gay marriage is to be battled this will have to be the main focus of legislation.

This article gave me good information of what will need to be done by those who are fighting for gay rights.

****

Barooah, Jahnabi. “Oregon May Be Next State For Gay Marriage Ballot Battle.” The Huffington Post.

TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/11/oregon-gay-marriage-ballot_n_2110014.html&gt;.

This article talks about similar points as the last article but going into a little more detail on some topics such as the 2004 measure 36 that banned gay marriage in Oregon. The Article also mentions how a gay marriage bill will most likely be seen in 2014 and certainly by 2016.

This article, much like the last one, gave me lots of information surrounding this topic that is necessary to be able to have a sound argument.

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One comment

  1. Ashley LaBore

    Nick,
    First off i want to say that you did an amazing job on your letter! it is very informative and you were able to use your knowledge tastfully through out it. I like how you put alot of your thoughts and feelings and how you veiw things. This was one of my favorite statements “I want to live in an America where we are willing to help a neighbor for an hour to save them two, where people respect the rights of other as much as their own, and where those with power and money work to protect those without.” this was a very powerful opinion and one i completly agree with. I feel that we as americans should help other people didnt the bible also state “love thy neighbor” well how are we doing this if we continue to discriminate against others? You also made this statement “Americans step on each other to gain inches in life and spare nothing for fellow Americans to obtain a simple a thing as healthcare.” I feel this is a strong one as well. The feeling i get thinking about people not getting healthcare and being turned away when they are sick makes me angre. Why cant we stop spending money on usless things and start spending it on helping people out.?
    Now when it comes to gay rights i completly agree with you. If i can get married why cont others? If people love eachother who are we to say they cant or they dont or its not right? You mentiond “It appears to be that the majority of those who hold the anti-gay stance are those who are Judeo-Christian and share that religious belief on the matter” I dont complelty agree with you on this just because i am a christian and i dont discriminate on gay people. Also my uncle is the biggest follow thru christian i know and he is gay. Most gay peeple i know are religous. That being said i do know that there are alot of organized religions that do feel that way so i am glad you put that in your letter. They are human they are americans they are not hurting anyone so let them be happy. I hear all the time that they are against it because gay people make such a big deal about being gay and their rights. Well if you just let them have all the same rights you wouldnt hear about it any more.Again amazing paper, i am glad to see that not everyone feels the same about gay rights.

    Ashley LaBore

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