Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rights, Rights, and Rights

Legalization of same sex marriage will be an important social and political issue in the next general election. Already, the discussion has stimulated debate among American voters. Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have shown some degree of compassion for gays and lesbians and have been hinting the significance of allowing gay couples to adopt children. Gay rights will remain a burning issue until the 2012 elections are over and it could resurface again anytime beyond this year’s presidential election. Any candidate whose political thoughts contradict gay and lesbian rights will be subjected to thorough scrutiny by supporters of the gay and lesbian rights.

Haider-Markel and Meier (1996) argue that the gay and lesbian political power struggle is identical to that of interest groups where interest groups driven by the politics of compassion interact with political elites to gain their approval. The gay and lesbian issue is akin to alcohol prohibition in rural areas where rural Protestants, fighting to show the superiority of their values, argued for its prohibition so that urban Catholic immigrants could not have access to alcohol distribution (Hader-Markel & Meier, 1996). The politics of morality has been documented in abortion and gambling laws, enforcement of prostitution, birth control and other moral dimensions.

The gay and lesbian movement is not only an American issue but an international one. Gay and lesbians have penetrated the corridors of religion with some gay priests coming forward and declaring their sexual feelings. Gays and lesbians have found a place in the political spectrum and also in the military. Polikoff argues that gays and lesbians existed among North American berdache (male prostitutes; also known as Catamites) where some males married other males that behaved like women but never conceived children nor carried the bow while some women married other women and performed the duties of men (1993). Because nations that are less democratic have legalized gay and lesbian marriage, American political leaders will be compelled to tackle the rights of gays and lesbians in the future.


Haider-Markel, D.P. & Meier, K.J. (1996). The politics of gay and lesbian rights: Expanding the scope of the conflict. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 58, No. 2, Pp. 332-349.

Polikoff, N.D. (1993). We will get what we ask for: Why legalizing gay and lesbian marriage will not “dismantle the legal structure of gender in every marriage”. Virginia Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 7, Symposium on sexual orientation and the law, Pp. 1535-1550.

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