Queers In A Quagmire Essay

1895 words - 8 pages

George Bernard Shaw once said “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Those who are embroiled in the national debate over gay marriage are proving themselves incapable of changing anything. Gay rights in America have taken a long and winding path towards equality, from the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to the outlawing of anti-sodomy legislation in 2003 following Lawrence v. Texas (Cornell 2003). The final frontier of gay rights, marriage equality, was in the limelight this past summer following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional (Barnes 2013). Despite all this forward movement, there is still a heated discussion over the issue. Everybody who knows about the idea of gay marriage seems to have an opinion on it—there are as many viewpoints on marriage equality as there are gays in the country. All of this is perfectly fine. Discussion is needed for change, and such important social change should not be rushed. The problem arises when all those involved in this discussion (which would be all of America) refuse to revise their opinion. The discourse is stuck. Unfortunately, there is no advancement in critical reasoning that can be made to create a more effective discourse over gay marriage because this issue does not rely on rational thinking but rather emotion and “gut feeling.”
On the surface, the gay marriage debate is fairly simple. Some people, for various reasons, believe that gays should be allowed to get married. Other people disagree, again for various reasons. The “various reasons” part, along with the element of disagreement is where the conversation gets horrendously messy. The discourse surrounding the rights afforded to gays and lesbians has been around as long as gay people themselves. As a country founded at least partially on Christian beliefs (the book of Leviticus from the Old Testament decries homosexuality as an “abomination”), America has always had a contentious relationship with the LGBT community. It was not until the 20th century that the gay community began to fight back, with the Society for Human Rights in Chicago becoming “the country's earliest known gay rights organization” (Infoplease) The next 90 years were filled with movement on both sides. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States in 1976, only to be assassinated in 1978. The policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was put in place in 1993, which allowed for gays to serve in the armed forces but banned homosexual activity. This policy was removed with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.” Even the stripping back of the Defense of Marriage Act effectively resulted in one step forward, one step back—although gay couples were awarded federal recognition, the Supreme Court at the same time refused to address the issue of whether or not the prohibition of same-sex marriage was constitutional, instead turning away...

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