Equal rights and homosexuality!

Hailed as historic and courageous, Barack Obama’s recent conversion to the side of gay marriage has, not surprisingly, filled the religious Right with righteous indignation. They say the
president has rendered legitimate behavior what their Bible considers an abomination. Moreover, that marriage, as God
designed it, was meant to be between one man and one woman.
Of course God also warned in Matthew, Chapter 7 that we should “judge not that ye be not judged.”
Indeed, the Bible also prohibits a woman from speaking publicly in church activities. Convenient selection of Scriptures in support of individual positions can be a very dangerous proposition. It only
helps to create confusion and places intelligent people in very lopsided, illogical, biased and irrational positions. It is never easy to speak for God.
Obama’s stance is based on the simple premise that equal rights cannot exist unless enjoyed by all citizens. Freedom cannot be doled out in packages of various sizes. Human rights cannot be exclusively granted to heterosexuals. It is unfair that gays can be sent to war zones across the globe but in their own country are denied basic rights and benefits. Such denial is also sinful.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the ancient Greeks accepted homosexuality, and in some respects considered it a higher form of love than heterosexuality. The Kinsey Report of 1948 found that 30 percent of adult US males had engaged in some homosexual activity, and ten percent were committed to primarily homosexual behavior patterns. About half as many women were predominantly homosexual. A recent Gallup poll showed that a clear majority of Americans from all major demographic groups
have shifted their negative view on the issue of gay marriage.
President Obama’s evolved stance on the issue cannot be placed in the category of political expediency. He could have ignored the subject and would still have received a majority of the gay and lesbian votes in the November election,
according to polls. The Republican view on this issue is too extreme to attract support from the majority of the voting public.                 Like most of us the president has struggled with his convictions on this matter. He has all along maintained that his views were evolving. While his opponents will seek to
make political mileage
out of this issue, I think for Obama, this came down to affirming equal rights
for all under the law,
not just gay rights.
He decided to throw his
support behind gay marriage now because of the draconian measures being adopted by some states, including the latest decision by 61 percent voters in North Carolina to constitutionally forbid same-sex marriage.                     The vote essentially denies people their rights and freedom of association under the Constitution of the United States. As President of the United States he cannot sanction second class citizenship for any
group of citizens. People should not be denied their constitutional rights simply because of their sexual preferences.
There will be much discussion, debate and some consternation among people whose Christian values are at odds with the president’s stance, but I think when this issue is considered rationally and logically, without the emotional and religious underpinnings, they will come to the right conclusion, as did the president.
I must admit that I, too, have evolved on this issue. In college, I   struggled
with this decision and finally came down on the side of liberty. I came to see people not as gay and straight but as human beings. I’m no better than anyone else because I chose to
marry a woman and spend the rest of my life in a heterosexual relationship. I say, let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone. For me it is the sobering fact that all individuals must be treated equally.
We cannot view this matter from within the strict confines of our selective religious morality. Morality should not be a convenient cover to deny an individual his freedom of choice, and his basic rights and privileges. Henry
David Thoreau warned:
“Do not be too moral.
You may cheat yourself
out of much life. So aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.”
Moreover, I have not discovered any evidence to prove that homosexuals are less patriotic than heterosexuals. There is a clear distinction between moral values based on religious belief and the acceptance of equal rights for all citizens. The president was not elected to be a Puritan on religious beliefs. His role is to ensure
fairness, equality and
justice for all. He is
not a pastor, preacher or priest. He is the commander in chief.
My concept of God has also evolved. The God I trust and believe in is not mean and damning. There are gay people who may get to heaven before some of us who are as straight as a ruler. There is a fundamental contradiction, which borders on hypocrisy, that suggests heterosexuals are morally right, even when they walk away from their children and divorce their spouses, sometimes for no
discernible reason
other than the need for change.
What makes it immoral for a man to marry another man, yet makes it moral for a man to divorce his sick wife and walk away while she lays dying on a hospital bed? God looks at the heart and motives, not individual outward appearances.
In the poem “Accept Me,” Olivia McGee writes:
I am I/
Do not change me/
Condemn me, or put me down/
Accept me for what I am/
No…you need not agree with me/
But accept me.
For I am a total being.
We should not impose our religious will, no
matter how well intentioned, on others. We are all created as distinct human beings and if we truly believe in God, then we can all agree that he imbued us all with freedom of choice. Choose you this day whom you shall serve.
As for me, I may not approve of someone’s lifestyle but I will defend to death their right to love, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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