February 26, 2004

Expanding Rights?

I haven’t meant to turn this into a political weblog. I haven’t meant to turn it into a gay rights weblog. But, you go where the thoughts lead you.

Someone in the comments of the now-infamous 12 Reasons post has claimed that existing rights are good enough for gays because they already apply equally to everyone. (See the comments section for the less-than-coherent details, which I won’t quote and clean up here because I am not an editor)

In other words, someone claimed gays aren’t seeking equal rights, they’re seeking a new right.

To that I say, they are seeking equality in rights and the way they exercise those rights. Whether a right is perceived by you as new or not doesn’t speak to whether equality is satisfied.

For an analogy, let’s say black people could only marry other black people, but not whites. Everyone has the same rights, as long as they stay within their kind. That’s called “separate but equal” and it is clearly not equal.

Equally loopy would be a law saying that blacks could only marry whites. Does everyone have the same rights in this scenario? in a twisted way, yes—but only in the sense that any law you can think of applies to everyone. The two white people who would like to marry each other are clearly going to see that the law, while it is imposed on everyone equally, is defined in such a way that it punishes only on same-color couples who want to marry, with little reason.

That’s what your argument comes down to. Gays would like to marry within their own group. (That group being, consenting adults of similar gender and orientation). The MA constitution, for one document, does not restrict gays from marrying within their group (according to the SJC). But Bush wants to write that restriction into the constitution to remove that right that some (the MA SJC) say they already have but have not been allowed to exercise.

Even if you view blacks marrying whites as a “new right” or gays marrying within their group as a “new right”—there is no equality if these separations exist.

Posted by James at February 26, 2004 6:20 PM
Create Social Bookmark Links

Technically I think the court basically said they already have these rights and have had them since the MA constitution was adopted (what 250 years ago) we've just been illegally ignoring them. We do not now have a law that says homosexuals cannot marry as far as I know. Which is why San Francisco and now a town in New York have already begun marrying couples.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 27, 2004 9:29 AM

Thank you, James, for this clear and concise explanation.

Posted by: Patti M. at February 27, 2004 9:33 AM

Copyright © 1999-2007 James P. Burke. All Rights Reserved