Guest Author - Barbara Sharpe
In my hometown, there are frequently letters to the editor suggesting that LGBT people should not be given our full constitutional rights because being LGBT is a “choice.” I did some checking and the same sorts of letters are in local newspapers across the county.
I will not argue that being LGBT isn’t a choice. To say that it is a choice is ridiculous and if people are going to ignore science, then they will surely ignore me.
However, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967 also includes religion. Religious affiliation is definitely a choice. People can, and do, change religions all the time. There are at least a dozen people who I personally know who have changed their religion. It is clearly a choice. Given that many Christian denominations are proselytizers and constantly trying to get people to change religions, clearly they know and accept that religion can be changed.
While it is not part of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, there are federal laws protecting people against other things that are, in fact, choices. Marital status is definitely a choice. Pregnancy is also a choice and it is protected. Thankfully, there are federal laws that prohibit employers from telling a person that they cannot dress in a way that is “ethnic.” While I am certainly in favor of that law, how one dresses is definitely a choice.
Why isn’t the “moral majority” up in arms about all of these “special rights?” They are choices a person makes.
The largest reason given is that the Bible, in certainly places appears to say that homosexuality is a sin. There are many schools of thought on what the Bible means by some of those passages. Whatever the Bible meant is completely irrelevant. America is not a Christian country, so what the Bible says has little relevance to this discussion. We are a country that does not favor one religion over another. I’m fairly certain that many of the strongest supporters of Proposition 8 would not be happy if we suddenly adopted laws based on the traditions of a non-Christian religion. For example, what if we required that all people keep kosher because not doing so clearly violates the laws set forth in the Old Testament. It’s the same exact Bible that is being used to justify denying American citizens the protections under the constitution to which we are all entitled.
I fully support the right of every single American citizen to hold whatever opinion they have, regardless of how personally reprehensible I find it. What I do not support is using the judicial and justice system to deny anyone else the same rights that those who are opposed to us are taking for granted.