Why Are Gay Rights Still Disputed?

James Shearer
Spare Change news

Over the past few weeks, discussion has once again come up about gay marriage. It all began with conversations about North Carolina’s proposal to ban not only gay marriage but also civil unions. Somehow, this absurd proposal became state law. (Hey, can we just annex the South and move on? We’ll even throw in Texas.)

Then the President suddenly made an about-face and now supports gay marriage, after discussing it with the only people in Washington who can truly impeach him (that’s his wife and two daughters, for those of you who are wondering).

The uproar was deafening, with many on both sides of the argument accusing the commander in chief of playing politics. While that may be true, it was still heartening to see and hear.

So what’s my beef? OK, why are we still talking about a topic that by now should be a non-issue? Because North Carolina not withstanding, it is. For most of us, the controversy over gay marriage or civil unions has gone the way of the pay phone. Especially for yours truly. I’ve never had a problem with gay people, let alone gay couples.

It’s all about love, folks, plain, simple love. And for the hundredth time, who am I, or who is anyone, for that matter, to tell someone who they can’t love or marry or have children with?

Why are we talking about this and still condemning it while we’ve got more pressing issues at the moment? The economy is still in the toilet, we’re still fighting a war that everyone seems to have forgotten about, and homelessness is getting a whole lot worse. There are just too many things going on in this country for us to be going around and playing love doctors.

So why are we talking about this again, and why are people still railing against it? Because, folks, no one has any solutions for the topics that I just named. So let’s all go back and beat that dead horse.

Even here in Massachusetts, gay people are still being discriminated against, though it’s been eight years since gay marriage became legal here first. Take homelessness, for example. Even in that realm, gays are treated as outcasts among their peers, and the system is not set up to help them, either. At least it doesn’t seem like it. Currently, there are no homeless shelters geared toward gay or transgender folks. There are some services, but those are few and far between.

For the most part, homeless people who are gay or transgender don’t reveal themselves, out of fear that they won’t get the services they need. You’d be surprised at how many so-called do-gooders in the field of homeless advocacy are homophobic. Gay homeless people also worry that they could face bodily harm inside shelters.

It’s sad, really. I guess the thing that probably bothers me the most about all this is how the black clergy and black people in general are still against gay marriage. We would deny people the same rights that we fought so hard to get just because gay folks are on the “down low” (I never liked that phrase). As I said a few years ago, it makes no sense to me that my own race is willing to side with those same people who fought so hard to deny us our own civil rights.

Now look, even I am getting caught up in this non-issue. We should allow people to be who they are, and who they love is really nobody’s business. So the next time you read about or hear or see people rallying against gay people in general, ask … why?

JAMES SHEARER is a co-founder and board president of Spare Change News.






Leave a Reply