Letter: Where to Begin?

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602 S. Gay Street
2nd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

It has come to my attention that the gay community believes that their “struggle” for equality is a civil rights issue. When civil rights is mentioned the thought that comes to mind is members of the Negro race who were stripped from their home and country, separated from their families, enslaved, enduring unthinkable hardships, beatings and torture and never regaining true freedom until over a hundred years after slavery was finally outlawed in this country. With this particular civil rights issue in mind how does one’s sexual behavior in the bedroom rate as a civil rights issue?

Rick Humphreys

Maynardville

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Comments » 1

knoxarch writes:

Dear Mr. Humphreys,

Though I understand that what you're doing is taking your predetermined beliefs and trying to retroactively provide a justification for them by saying, "Ridiculous! Ridiculous!" any intelligent, educated person should note that what you've written is just nonsense.

Slavery was not solved by the Civil Rights Movement, but was ended a century before by the Civil War. Conflating the two may be convenient for your "Ridiculous!" argument, but it's nonsensical -- basic civil rights and basic human rights are not necessarily the same thing.

Arguing that the issue is one of behavior in the bedroom is missing the point entirely, either through ignorance or deliberation. Gay people right now can and do whatever they like in the privacy of their own homes, just as you can. The rights that are lacking are protections and benefits under the law, which you would have as a black man but not as a gay.

Gays cannot legally marry, or any legal approximation thereof (it also used to be illegal for a black man to marry a white woman).

Gays can be fired from their jobs or not hired in the first place for being gay (it also used to be legal to discriminate in employment against blacks).

Gays are not given equal protection under the law for their lives and property (for decades in the South, blacks were not fairly treated by a white judiciary, and whites were rarely punished for violence against blacks).

Gays do not qualify for tax benefits of married people, or Social Security benefits, or maternity and paternity leave, or inheritance benefits, or family insurance coverage, or spousal medical rights, or spousal parental rights in the same way that married people do.

You can self-righteously proclaim that it's not the same, and that's easy to do from your privileged, undiscriminated-against perch. No one, though, is equating gay rights to slavery. It would be like equating the right to vote with the right to wear brown shoes -- they are obviously not equivalent, but if the government suddenly came down against brown shoes, I fully expect you'd rattle off another inane letter to the editor, completely missing any broader parallels, blinded by your own prejudices.

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