One of the major strategies of those advocating so-called “gay marriage” is to frame the issue as analogous to the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century. They wish to equate the struggle that black Americans faced in the 1950’s and 1960’s to achieve equal protection under the law with today’s push to allow homosexual couples to marry.
Is this a valid comparison? I believe it isn’t.
The whole point of the Civil Rights movement was to correct the injustice that certain persons were not treated equally under the law. In the mid-20th century, this was certainly the case with black Americans. They could not drink from the same water fountains, sit at the same counters, or ride in the front of the bus. They were truly second-class citizens, and were it not for God’s grace acting through people like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and many others, they would still be considered such.
So is the modern push for gay marriage an issue of civil rights? If so, it would have to be the case that certain persons are treated unequally under the law. And that is not the case here.
Consider two people, Fred, a straight man, and George, a gay man. Fred has certain legal rights in regard to marriage, and certain legal restrictions. Fred may marry almost any person of the opposite sex he chooses. Fred cannot marry a close relative, and Fred may not be married to more than one person at the same time.
George, like Fred, may marry almost any person of the opposite sex he chooses. George cannot marry a close relative, and George may not be married to more than one person at the same time. In short, Fred and George are treated equally under the law. There is no law that applies to Fred but not to George, or vice versa.
The fact that George does not wish to marry anyone whom he is legally allowed to is irrelevant from a legal perspective. The fact that George wishes to marry someone whom he is legally prohibited from marrying is also irrelevant. (If George were in love with his sister, for instance, he would not be allowed to marry her, regardless of his feelings.)
In short, because Fred and George are treated identically by the law, the question of gay marriage does not rise to the level of a civil rights issue.
February 29 2012 04:43 pm | Uncategorized