Gay Rights

Although homosexuals are gaining more rights each year, times are still difficult for them. Homosexuals everywhere are being discriminated and denied rights, especially minorities. Gay youth are finding it very hard to fit in at school. This is mostly because homosexuality is not accepted by most kids and families. Most are taught that being gay is wrong. Some are even told they will go to Hell if they commit homosexuality.

"75% of students have no laws to protect them from being harassment and discrimination.” This makes it easier for students to get away with bullying homosexuals. “97% report hearing homophobic remarks from peers.” Simple remarks are made everyday. Some even take the word gay out of proportion (“11 Facts About Gay Rights”). The definition of gay means to be happy, but homosexuals, better known as gays, are not so happy these days. “a survey showed that more than 58% of them had been beaten up by their peers and feared they would never be able to complete their education.” They feared going to school, so most made up excuses to stay at home. Some even skipped school to avoid the problems. Some homosexuals even drop out of school and end up on the streets, homeless and alone. To support these types of students, the G.A.Y. youth program and special schools were created. The G.A.Y. youth program is a place for young homosexuals to go after school when they need someone to talk to who will understand. Project 10 was created by a teacher for a place for homosexuals to go to talk about their problems. Rev. Lou Sheldon said Project 10 was a homosexual recruitment program. He set up SHAPE: Stop Homosexual Advocacy In Public Education (Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints). “In New York they created the Hetrick-Martin Institute for lesbian and gay youth. It was created in 1979 after a boy was gang raped and kicked out or a shelter just for being gay” (Homosexuality: Opposing Viewpoints). Some people felt that the school was wrong. They said homosexuals and heterosexuals should not be separated. They need to learn to interact and used to being around one another. They felt that the school would just shelter them. Most believed the school was necessary. Most children who ended up at the institute had tried regular schools, but it just did not work out for them. Sadly, schools are not the only place young gay people are being mistreated. A lot of young homosexuals receive negativity toward their choice of homosexuality at home.

“26% of gay teens who came out to their parents were told to leave home.” Some were even beaten or abused by their parents just because of their sexuality choice. A young boy who came out to his family was beaten very badly. He told hid brother first about him being gay and he just ran away and would not talk to him. When his father found out, he took him outside and threw him in the snow. He then continued to beat him in his head telling him, ”I will stop if you stop being gay.” Once his father stopped, the boy ran away and lived his own life. He never communicated with his family again. Another girl was burned by her mother and told her she would burn in Hell if she did not change her ways. These two are not the only ones who get abused or thrown out for being gay. “Between 20% and 40% of the 1.6 million homeless American youth are gay.” A higher percentage of them were told to leave. Only a few of them left on their own(“11 Facts About Gay Rights”). “According to a 1989 report by the Department of Health and Human Services, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times more likely to kill themselves.” Most of these cases are because they are unaccepted by family of friends and feel there is no better way out than death. Some gays who did kill themselves, had their funerals protested. People showed up with signs and shouted, that they got what they deserve for going against God. At the time, police could not arrest anyone, just ask them to please leave. To help prevent this, more and more outreach programs and support groups are created each year (Andryszewski 12-13).

Homosexuality is not any easier for adults. It actually gets harder. They are denied many rights as well. “There are 1,100 benefits denied gay couples in California alone.” For example, even though there is a shortage, gays are being denied when trying to donate blood. To some people this may not seem like a big deal, but that is simply because that is an everyday right to you. The denied rights only get worse, especially federal rights “Same sex couples cannot have a non-U.S. spouse become a citizen. They also cannot collect benefits upon death of a spouse of file jointly as a couple. This is a big issue when it comes to taxes or sharing money responsibilities, such as getting loans. Another problem is the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule. Some soldiers are being kicked out of the army for being gay. Homosexuals are banned from the armed forces in Japan, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Brazil, Peru, and Turkey (Graff 29). The federal government has also limited homosexuality in media as well. “Gay couples are limited to holding hands and sharing meaningful looks on television. They cannot kiss one another or share sexual or loving remarks with one another” (“Gay Rights”). Viewers find it offensive to see homosexuals kissing or doing any of the above. If a guy-girl couple were to share a passionate kiss on screen, citizens would not even think twice about it, because they do not find anything wrong with it. Some humans find homosexuality as being so morally wrong that they protest it. Some even go to the extent of making threats.

Many cases or attacks and threats against gays have been reported. “Violent attacks or harassment of sexual minorities and AIDS activists have been reported in nineteen countries since 1994. Severe police harassment has been reported in eighteen countries” (Love, Hate and the Law” 18-19). “In 2007 a survey showed that almost 60% of Russians thought homosexuality was unacceptable behavior and almost 25% said it should be criminalized. Lenoid Nikshich said, “It’s forbidden to propagandize any sin, such as homosexuality and murder. I think homosexuals need to be treated by a doctor” (Gee). “In may 2007, gay marchers were attacked by members of the Union Of Orthodox Standard-Bearers. The members broke up the parade by throwing eggs at them. Moscow police arrested the gay rights paraders instead of the people who throw things at them. The police officer just let the attackers walk free. Also, taxi drivers have been known to beat and rob passengers picked up outside Moscow gay clubs. Oleg Khrolov said Russia is no worse than the U.S. If homophobia is defined as coming out of the clubs and being beaten it is the same everywhere (Gee). Some countries are worse. “They even go as far as to kill gays. Out of fear, 2% of women and 4% of men exclusively live as homosexuals. China kills gays and lesbians due to heoliganism laws. Brazil is much worse. They hold the record for murder of sexual minorities. 16,000 gays died between 1980 and 1997. Only 5% of the killers actually went to trial. The other 95% got away with murder”(“Love, Hate, and the Law”). Now, the District of Columbia and 47 states have anti-hate laws. Also, last year, the Congress passed the Matthew Sheppard Act, which outlaw hate crimes, but it was never approved by Bush (“11 Facts About Gay Rights’). Homosexuals still deal with threats and attacks in some places because of this, but other issues are way more important to them today.

Marriage and adoption have been two of the biggest, of many, issues on many homosexuals minds. “In November Proposition 8 was passes banning same-sex marriage in many states. Some states issue marriage licenses, but the laws are very strict” (“11 Facts About Gay Rights”). “Supporters of Proposition 8 want to institutionalize homophobia. They want to say homosexuals do not deserve the same status as heterosexuals. Proposition 8 does not interfere with gays living the lifestyles they chose. All it does is prevent gays from redefining marriage for everyone. It protects children from being taught in public schools that same sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage” (Stafford). “The California’s state attorney argued that there was a long history of marriage being between a man and a woman and that it should therefore remain that way”. Some say if a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and shall be put to death” (“Love, Hate, and the Law”). Some people still find this wrong. “Calling same-sex and opposite sex couples by different names made gay couples feel as though they were second class citizens. In the court’s view, banning or classifying same-sex marriage was discrimination” (Ewers). This is why same-sex marriage is legal in some states.

“Same sex marriages can be made official by anyone, but the ceremony involves no civil law and carries no legal benefits or responsibilities. Some states allow Domestic Partnership Registration. The couple goes on file as a non-married couple to establish legal responsibilities for debt after the end of a relationship” (“Gay Rights”). “Denmark was the first to introduce registered partnership for gay couples in 1989, while Dutch legalized same-sex marriage in 2001” (Graff 40). “California and Massachusetts are the only states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.” Massachusetts legalized same sex marriage in 2004, but only applied to that state’s residents. California’s will apply to anyone who visit’s the state. They have no residency restrictions on marriage licenses” (Ewers). “In November, Connecticut became the third state to ever issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after the states supreme court ruled the gays and lesbians have the right to marry under the state constitution. “However, banning same-sex marriage passed in Arizona and Florida bringing the told number of states with constitutional amendments banning gay marriage to 30” (Ewers).

Most people believe gay marriage goes against religion. Roman Catholic faith see homosexuality as a sin and marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, most Christians think homosexuals should be able to get married. Polls show that 60% of them support gay marriage and 250,000 couples are waiting for the new law (Graff 40). “More than 40% of the money donated to defeat the same-sex marriage initiative came from individuals associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A church spokesperson has condemned the protest as discriminatory. Not everything we do is approved by the Bible, so why strictly enforce the no gay marriage law? (Ruggeri 29).
“While three states have laws that effectively ban gay couples from adopting, twelve others allow same-sex couples to adopt. That Leaves thirty-five states where couples can not be sure how likely it is that an adoption petition may pass. According to a 1977 state law, homosexuality prohibits a person from adopting in Florida. While Florida allows gay individuals to become foster parents, it is the only state to explicitly ban them from adopting. Mississippi also bans same-sex couples from adopting. Utah prohibits both adopting and fostering by unmarried couples, including gays, who live together. Arkansas got the 61,797 signatures needed to create an adoption law like Utah’s. In Michigan, courts tend to be conservative, which means they are very unlikely to allow adoption for gay couples. “19 states allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children in a complex two -step process, in which one parent first adopts and then the second competition for joint rights” (“Gay Rights”). The only place that gay couples are for sure able to adopt are in other countries. “Same-sex couples have been allowed to adopt children in South Africa, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Britain and Canada” (“Love, Hate, and the Law”). “Italy bans donor sperm, donor eggs, and surrogate mothers which homosexuals could used to have children and only allow assisted fertility treatment to stable heterosexual couples” (Graff 40). Although it seems impossible, some gays can adopt. Gay individuals have an easier time adopting because most courts treat the issue differently for singles versus couples. Some people see gay adoption as another way to give homeless children or foster children a home. If more gay couples could adopt, more children would have loving families. Fewer children would be left in orphanages. Some courts say no credible evidence shows having a gay parent harms children, but no matter what, someone will always have a different view, so it will be a never ending battle homosexuals will fight” (Ruggeri 24).

Although marriage and adoption are still being fought, homosexuals have gained many rights along the way. Many laws have been passed to keep gays from being discriminated by cops and others. Many reports of cops abusing gays have been noticed, but never reported. They were hidden. Some homosexuals have reported or told others that they were beaten by a cop, and could not do anything about it. When taken to court, the cop lied and the judge took his side. For many years this went on. “It was not until November 2007 that discrimination against sexual orientation was barred” (“11 Facts About Gay Rights”). In 2003 a legislation was also signed that protected homosexuals state wide from verbal harassment and hate crimes. People in Canada who express hate against gays should be aware because they could end up in jail as a prisoner of conscience” (Leisham 6).

Now there are many laws and rights being offered to homosexuals. They are protected from discrimination and hatred everywhere. A set of rules, called the “Gay Bill of Rights:, was created to further extend these protections. Some of the rules are as follows: “Private consensual sex between persons over the age of consent shall not be an offense.” “A person’s sexual orientation or practice shall not be a factor in the granting or renewing of federal security clearness or visas, or in the granting of citizenship.” “A person’s sexual orientation or practice shall not affect his eligibility for employment with federal, state, or local governments, or private employers.” “The police department nor any government can keep files for the purpose of identifying homosexuals.” “No government agency shall use the classification of homosexuality as an alleged illness to limit the freedom , rights, or privileges of an individual” (Andryszewski 12-13). These are not the only rights included, but a few.

Most rights just protect gays gains discrimination and harassment. Yes, they are very important, but what about the many other rights they are denied? We focus on the little stuff and overlook the bigger and more important things. Marriage and adoption are still being worked on, but not enough is being done. We need to do more. People do not realize how much homosexuals are missing out on.

Homosexuals everywhere are being denied marriage to the love of their life. Men and women everywhere are getting married and living happy lives. It is not right to the man-man and woman-woman couples. What is the difference? Shouldn’t everyone be happy? Homosexuals cannot help whom they fall in love with, and we should acknowledge this. It is said that everyone has a soul mate pre-chosen by God. If it was intended for a man to be with a man or a woman with a woman, then so be it. Homosexual couples are not hurting anyone or affecting the marriage rights of heterosexual couples. Yes, it is something most are not used to, but everyone should be happy. We cannot discriminate toward color or race, so why should we be able to discriminate against sexuality.

If homosexuals gained the right to marry, it would also make it easier for them to adopt as well. Most agencies prefer to adopt children to couples, If gays could marry, more couples would be available to create more homes for foster children. It would also give them the family they have always wanted. Allowing gay marriage would eliminate many problems we have today and make many people happy. It is just something we need to get used to .

Although not all gay right issues have been eliminated, we are getting closer and closer every year. More and more support groups are being created. Still problems occur. Discrimination may be against the law, but it still happens. Laws are still eliminating the problems. Not all states allow adoption or marriage, but it is a start. Gays may have rights, but it is not enough. We still need to continue fighting. Homosexuals should receive 100% of the benefits heterosexuals do. It would only be fair. Homosexuals are not giving up on the fight, no matter how hard it gets, and heterosexuals are slowly realizing it is not so bad.

People believe that the ongoing gay rights fight will continue for years to come. Some say we just need to give up or deal with what we got. These people are wrong. In the last 10 years alone, gays have achieved so much and gained many rights. If they give up now, they would have done so much for nothing. Homosexuals just need to continue fighting for a little but longer, and will most likely receive the results they want.

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