Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Gays deserving of equal rights

One thing I will never understand about Americans today is their need to push their beliefs onto others, especially when they are completely unconnected to or affected by the people they are oppressing. Take, for example, gay marriage: why do people care so much about whether gay couples can get married? Gay people are the same as everyone else, so what is the problem, and why is it any one else’s right to tell them whom they should love? And why do they get to determine what is acceptable?

Massachusetts did not legalize Gay Marriage until 2004, and is still only one of six states that allow it. Additionally, gays still do not receive the benefits that other married couples do. They are still deprived of over 1,000 benefits that heterosexual couples currently receive. So yes, gay people can get married in Massachusetts, but they are deprived of plenty of benefits like bereavement leave, automatic inheritance, child custody, or divorce protections to name a few.

By saying that gay people are not allowed to get married and receive the same benefits that straight people do, the government is saying that gay people are not equal to heterosexuals, and it is supporting the claim that marriage should be restricted to being between a man and a woman. This is pure discrimination, and it should not be acceptable in today’s society. In addition, many states do not protect gay people against employers from firing or failing to hire them on the basis of their sexuality.

Just a few months ago, some states wouldn’t even support their homosexual citizens in their desire to be soldiers fighting for their country if they identified as being gay, and some still believe this is a valid deterrent. How can people who claim to be a part of one of the strongest and most progressive nations on earth think in such a backwards manner?

It is a constitutional right for citizens to be treated as equals under the law, so how have these prejudiced people gotten away with their discrimination for so long? You would think that Americans would learn from their own history that prejudice just leads to violence, hatred, and a miserable existence. Yet 17 percent of hate crime incidents are based on sexual orientation. This is huge. Why does it seem people always have to discriminate against some group, and what are these prejudiced people afraid of?

Gay people are not trying to turn all straight people gay. There’s no secret plot – they just want to be themselves. Straight and gay people have existed since the dawn of the human race and there is nothing to say that being gay is unnatural. In previous human societies homosexuality was even accepted. For example, gay couples existed in many Native American societies. This demonstrates that any issues in regards to gay rights are bread from the society we live in today and do not have anything to do with it being “unnatural.” The New York Times article “Can Animals be Gay” explains that “various forms of same-sex sexual activity [has] been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals.” All throughout nature there is proof of same-sex couples, proving that homosexuality occurs in nature and is therefore natural.

Even though homosexuality is proven natural many people still exhibit bigotry towards gay people. This is something our society needs to work against. People who are prejudice against gays have to first recognize their prejudice and then work towards changing it. It is a long and slow process for many, but in the end it is the right thing to do.

Gay individuals and couples deserve equality under the laws; they deserve to be treated just as every straight person is treated. Gay people should be allowed to get married and receive equal benefits, they are just as important and as much a part of today’s society as any straight person. America needs to get past its prejudice and give gays the rights they deserve.

Amanda Dennis is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].

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  • R

    randompersonNov 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    To 1717 …. You go GIRL! Teach everyone a lesson 😀

  • 1

    1717Oct 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

    haters, go ahead and hate. love is beautiful no matter the gender. im a lesbian and im PROUD of it.

  • A

    AmandaNov 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Marraige is overseen by the government. The only arguably valid reason for gays not to marry is religion. Our constitution calls for separation of church and state. To me, it seems against the constituation to not allow gays to marry.

  • A

    Anon111Nov 15, 2011 at 11:20 am


    And how is same-sex behavior unhealthy, exactly….?

  • G

    GGGP1856Nov 14, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    14th Amendment – U.S. Constitution

    “Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    In saying that same-sex couples should have the same rights and privileges as heterosexual ones, proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM), cite the 14th Amendment as justification. I agree that the 14th Amendment is applicable to this argument but not as justification for SSM. Rather, the 14th Amendment is a powerful argument against bestowing homosexual couples such rights and privileges.

    The reason has to do with the phrases, “…without due process of law…” and the “…equal protection of the laws.” The whole purpose of law is to govern human behavior for the benefit of the individual and society. Thus, law prohibits, limits, or encourages different behaviors, based on their merits or lack of them. Merits, in turn, are based on objective facts – not feelings without facts. For example, facts prove that some behaviors furnish positive benefits to individuals and society, and should, therefore, be encouraged with financial and legal benefits. Examples in this first category would include going to college, starting a business, buying a home, giving to charities, and entering into marriage. Other behaviors have the potential for harm but banning them would cause an undue burden on personal liberty. So, we limit these behaviors to consenting adults. Examples in this second category would be smoking, drinking, gambling, and human sexual relations outside marriage. Finally, some behaviors are so egregious that we prohibit them. Examples in this third category would be the taking of life or property.

    So law isn’t based solely on what people want. It’s also based on the people or their representatives objectively reviewing facts to indicate why a law is justified or not. This is the “…due process of law…” mentioned in the 14th Amendment. In accordance with this process, the facts (science) show that homosexual behavior (not the urge for this behavior, which is the driving force for the behavior) falls within the second category of human behavior. It does so because homosexual behavior is associated with serious bodily damage, disease, instability of commitment, and infidelity (1).

    For these reasons, government recognition of SSM is wrong, because it mischaracterizes same-sex behavior. SSM does so by erroneously placing same-sex behavior in the first behavioral category – one that’s beneficial to the individual and society and, therefore, one that’s deserving of encouragement through the rights and privileges mentioned above. Clearly, in accordance with the facts, society shouldn’t encourage same-sex behavior, especially since its origin is partially external (like ones peer group, family, and society). Consequently SSM will encourage those who wouldn’t otherwise engage in homosexual behavior to do so (1).

    For every other external factor, like this one, we’ve recognized their ability to influence problematic behaviors and have, therefore, taken measures to limit them. For instance with smoking, which is subject to peer and societal influences, we’ve stopped advertising that might encourage it. Yet for another unhealthy behavior – same-sex behavior, which is also subject to peer and societal influences, some want to do the exact opposite and encourage it with government recognition of SSM. This view is not only contradictory but it’s also blatantly hypocritical and without merit of any kind.

    Indeed, with respect to SSM, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment is clear. We cannot say that one unhealthy behavior (smoking) deserves no encouragement, while another unhealthy behavior (same-sex behavior) does. Hence, for this reason and all the others mentioned above, an intellectually-honest and clear-thinking person has only one decision to make. That decision is to oppose SSM.

    To help in persuading others to make this decision, please email this post and the link (below) to as many as possible and to your legislators. Ask others to do the same. Then demand that your legislators vote against same-sex behavior, and vote them out of office, if they don’t.

    (1) – “The Case for Government Recognition of Traditional Relationships,” an essay on Yahoo Pulse summarizing the science and the references for opposing government recognition of same-sex behavior:

  • M

    Michael J.Nov 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    In the US civil marriage is indeed a civil right overseen by the states. The states oversee our right to a driver’s license, our right to vote and our right to marriage via the required state marriage license. Other civil rights include free speech, discrimination, in fact, a broad range of civil rights. States do not stigmatize LGBT folks on these last civil rights, and neither should they do so with civil marriage rights.
    CIVIL MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT. You may not like it, but please respect it.

  • J

    JayNov 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Well said Amanda, and thank you for speaking out.

  • D

    David in HoustonNov 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    “Gay people are the same as everyone else, so what is the problem, and why is it any one else’s right to tell them whom they should love?”

    The problem is religion. People choose to be religious, then they use that chosen belief to rationalize their own bigotry. This same rationalization took place 50-years ago regarding race-mixing (interracial marriage). “If God wanted the races to mix, he wouldn’t have put them on different continents would he?” Today, if their God says that gays are evil sinners, then they have permission to demonize and discriminate against them. Of course, these are the same people that say that God created everything in the universe… which would include gay people. So logic and reason don’t apply when religion is involved.

    Case in point: The comment from Joey. “Gays have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex that straight people do.” It’s such an inane argument, but people like Joey actually believe it’s valid. That’s like telling an interracial couple that they can marry someone of the same-race, just like everyone else. So they really aren’t being discriminated against. Of course, people don’t marry random strangers that just happen to be the opposite sex or the same race. They marry people they love, and want to make a life-long commitment with. And, yes, the Supreme Court has said numerous times that marriage is a civil right. In fact, it is such an important right that even mass-murderers that will spend their entire lives in prison have the civil right to get married… as long as they’re straight.

  • J

    JasonNov 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I appreciate that the author is in college and taking a stand on this matter. It’s hard to take a stand and face the backlash that follows. The author is choosing to take the risk of the backlash, and I applaud her for that. There will always be those of us who support gay marriage at the federal level (for any number of the reasons the author notes among others) and those who don’t. The 14th Amendment has been interpreted to hold government laws to the highest level of scrutiny when they might discriminate based on qualifiers such as race; while Massachusetts has held that standard applicable in their decisions on gay marriage, maybe one day the federal government will also be held to that same standard in regards to marriage. The gay marriage movement has come a long way, particularly in the last decade. Who knows what the coming years will bring (change comes slowly)? It’s evident that this young author is one voice who might push marriage equality forward. I applaud her and join her in that fight. Congratulations on being brave.

  • J

    JessicaNov 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I look forward to the day when this is no longer an issue we need to take a stand on. Until then, thank you for standing up for what is right Amanda!

  • S

    SophieNov 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Well said. How dare discrimination stand in the way of ‘love’, yes haters ‘love’.
    It still stocking to see such hate in the world today. instead of homophobic people putting all of their energy and hate into a thing of beauty and love, focus it on issues in the world that need urgent attention, as in third world countries and leave us good people alone to live our lives in a equal society.

  • J

    JBNov 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

    To Joey and Here: every time I think we are moving forward as a society in terms of respecting one another for who we may be, people such as yourselves go and make incredibly bigoted, narrow-minded comments under the guise of “sticking up for yourself.”

    While marriage is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, the pursuit of happiness IS, and if what makes you happy is being able to wed your partner of however many years, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, you have every right to pursue that. Stop pretending your irrational and disgusting homophobia and bigotry is a right. It’s not.

    And yes, I DO think it’s our business, Joey, whether or not a restaurant owner serves only white people. That’s called “racism”, and I can guarantee you’d be in up in arms if you were the victim. I’m sure just the mention of Affirmative Action makes you stomp and holler and pout. So similarly, it IS our business if our country is rampantly homophobic: it’s wrong. It’s wrong to try and govern someone else’s life because you’re kind of weirded out by two dudes kissing. Cope with it. They’re not FORCING anything on you, in fact, they’re not even thinking about you. It’s like you think the whole world revolves around you, that every gay or lesbian couple holding hands are doing it to make YOU uncomfortable. Guess what? They’re not! Ta-Da! They’re doing it because THEY want to, because THEY want to show affection to one another. This idea that it’s some sort of sinister plot is not only outrageous, but narcissistic. As a first world country that prides itself on liberty and freedom of expression, we should be ashamed that gay marriage is still an issue. Look at Spain, look at Argentina: both are heavily Catholic countries with a past history of fascism and/or dictatorial regimes. Both have legalized gay marriage. That alone speaks volumes about where we are as a country and where our priorities are.

    @Here: “If everyone embraced the gay lifestyle then society would cease to exist in one generation.” As you can see, not all of Massachusetts has descended in a giant gay orgie. Not everyone has been “converted” to the gay “lifestyle” (although being gay is not a “lifestyle choice”, as your bigotry seems to be.) Our state ALONE proves that when you legalize gay marriage NOTHING HAPPENS except gay people get married and maybe you have to go to some extra weddings.

    I am embarrassed to share a campus with you, Here and Joey. And no, the author of this article is not “forcing” her beliefs on you, she is trying to open your eyes to equality and the importance of equality. So stop pretending you are on the higher moral ground.

    (By the way, great article, Amanda!)

  • H

    HereNov 14, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Gay couples are different.

    Telling someone who is repulsed by the sight of a man kissing another man that they must be tolerant of the act is as intolerance as saying that a man cannot kiss another man.

    If everyone embraced the gay lifestyle then society would cease to exist in one generation. It is not the normal state of society, regardless of beliefs.

    More and more people are accepting it as different but okay. As long as people are born and attracted to the opposite sex, that is as good as it will ever get.

    Fat and ugly people face bigotry also, not every human ill can be fixed by legislation.

  • R

    Ron DonagheNov 14, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Thanks, Amanda. In a nutshell you have touched on just about every positive argument to support gay rights (human rights) that we live under in the United States, thanks to our Constitution and the first ten amendments thereof.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • J

    JoeyNov 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    “In previous human societies homosexuality was even accepted.”

    Nearly all of those societies also accepted pedophilia. Ancient Japan, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece. It was only when those moralistic Christians came along and forced their morals on people did sex with young boys become a no-no.

    I guess you’re trying to insinuate that there’s nothing universally wrong with homosexuality. It’s just our particular society’s hang up. Other societies have accepted it. And yet you steadfastly refuse to take your logic to its inevitable conclusion–if other societies thought it was fine, our society must have a strange hangup.

  • J

    JoeyNov 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    “Gay people” have the same ability to get married as anyone else. They just have to marry a person of the opposite sex, just like everyone else. They don’t have a “right” to marry anyone they want, but that’s because marriage is not a right. It’s not in the Constitution. In fact, there are no sexual rights in the Constitution.

    By the way, why do you want to force your morals on polygamists? It doesn’t affect you if a man wants to have a herum of wives. Why do you want to force your morals on a restaurant owner who only wants to serve white people? Is it any of your business?

    What you really mean is that it’s okay for you to force your morals on other people, but not vice versa. That’s fine. But don’t pretend that you don’t want to legislate your morality.

    “How can people who claim to be a part of one of the strongest and most progressive nations on earth think in such a backwards manner?”

    That’s an easy one. I don’t claim to be part of any PROGRESSIVE nation, and neither would you if you understood the murderous history of the progressive movement.

  • J

    JimbobNov 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Very well said. Equality is simply the right thing to do.