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Not the new black – Same-sex marriage not comparable to black community’s fight for equality

Submitted by on 03.24.2014 – 9:51 pm 12 Comments

I’ve heard it time and again: Americans likening acceptance of homosexuality to the black community’s fight for freedom and equality, claiming homosexuals are fighting a similar battle for civil rights in today’s world. 

This claim resurfaced in Idaho following Rep. Lynn Luker’s introduction of House Bills 426 and 427 and with Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062, which were essentially intended to protect professional licenses and businesses from legal action should they refuse service to individuals based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” In general, those who opposed these bills felt the bills would usher in legalized discrimination against homosexuals if passed — similar to the infamous Jim Crow laws.

Essentially, opponents of the religious freedom bills have tagged gay as the new black.

Some, like author and political commentator John McWhorter of the New York Daily News — who often covers race issues in his books and op-eds — even think that the black community has a responsibility to be “further ahead of the curve than whites on accepting gay people as full citizens” due to their heritage and history in American society. Yes, because gay people somehow aren’t full citizens already.

To put it nicely, these claims and comparisons are idiotic and sickening.

Homosexuals face nothing like what the black community had to face in our country. I don’t claim to fully understand anything that the black community had to go through, nor do I claim that the black community today fully understands either. We can read and hear about what happened, but most modern Americans can’t fully grasp what it must have been like to live in bondage or even in segregation.

However, where the black community actually had to fight for freedom and true justice under the law, the homosexual community is simply fighting for so-called marriage equality and recognition under the law. The two are absolutely incomparable — like comparing the Revolutionary War to the fight to legalize marijuana.

If one wants to talk about a demographic in America that has been oppressed to the point where they have been considered less than human (legally or otherwise), enslaved by fellow human beings and turned into property with which the owners may do as they see fit and generally discriminated against because of their appearance, then consider the fetus as the new black. The only human beings in America today whose suffering compares with the suffering the black community has endured are the unborn, not the homosexual community. Over 57 million children aborted since 1973, and the count continues as states like Alabama struggle to fight for their protection under law.

Additionally, homosexuality is behavioral, while being black is not. One can argue that being homosexual is not a choice one makes, but engaging in a homosexual relationship — just like engaging in a heterosexual relationship — is. And that is where the issue lies. Where a black person could have been discriminated against by anyone or any business because of their skin color, a homosexual person is not likely to be refused service by businesses unless they tout their lifestyle choices in front of religiously devout employees or owners — as in the case of the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple.

It’s time to cease comparisons between these two communities. Gay is not the new black and it never will be.

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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12 Comments »

  • Jeff Solomon says:

    Congratulations on conveniently ignoring the whole “add the words” issue. Good thing gay people don’t have to live in fear that they could be fired for their orientation. Good thing it isn’t legal to discriminate in this way. Oh wait….

  • Ordo says:

    Good Article! It is always nice to hear something other than the liberal media. You brought up good points of how the two do not compare. Thanks for the article, keep it up.

  • Sim says:

    As an educator for the past 23 years and former UI graduate, I was appalled to read such ignorant commentary in the Argonaut. Andrew, do you realize that you have made yourself sound like a hateful bigot? Sadly, I’m sure you have a group of followers, but once you leave the confines of north Idaho, you are in for a very rude awakening. I’m assuming that you will be fired from your position. Just because this is an op ed section of the newspaper does not mean you should be allowed to write such homophobic, hateful remarks. Any newspaper with ethics would not allow such ignorance, defamatory rhetoric, and blatant stupidity to be published. Furthermore, homosexuality is NOT behavioral. By the way, writing blatant lies is also unacceptable in journalism. There is so much wrong with this article and it makes me embarrassed to be a UI graduate. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Willis C. Jenson says:

      … couldn’t help but notice your mean-spirited hateful defamation with the slinging of slanders like “bigot”, etc., indicating you have no arguments that can hold water. This response is typical of liberals who have no argument, only bullying and threatening with name-calling antics and other such ignomies, lacking totally in substance. BTW: As anyone who has taken Biology 101 knows, homosexuals cannot marry. It’s not that they may not marry; it’s that they cannot marry. Reason teaches us that only complements can form units, e.g. the family unit. Because homosexuals do not complement one another, they cannot marry and form a family unit. Why should we publicly acknowledge through homosexual “marriage” something so fundamentally contrary to reason and science?

      • Kayla B. says:

        I think you don’t understand the difference between marriage and reproduction. If it were the case that we judge the legitimacy of marriage based on the ability to reproduce, then I suppose we ought to ban the marriage of the elderly and the impotent. Let’s not forget that marriage, unlike reproduction, is a societal construct. We could even argue that, because organisms strive to pass on their genetic identity through offspring, monogamy goes against science because it prevents a member from mating with as many others as possible. There is also scientific evidence that supports homosexual behavior in a variety of species across the animal kingdom.

        I don’t know where you pulled out this bit about complements forming units. I did a Google search of that exact phrase and the three results were arguments against gay marriage; one of them from yourself on a different website, and another from a sermon that uses definitions from Webster’s Dictionary to make this argument, but nothing about how this ties into reason. It seems to me that same-sex marriage may go against your reasoning, which is alright for you – just don’t marry someone of your sex. But others should not be forced to abide by your reasoning. I do not believe God exists, through my own reasoning, but I do not believe others have to live their lives according to my reasoning.

        To reduce persons with aspirations, emotions, and beliefs to simple “units” is to discount the fact that homosexual couples are completely capable of long, happy lives that often include the rearing of children.

        It is not your place to decide how individuals “complement” their partner. I would not be surprised to have heard a similar argument a few decades ago to support the unconstitutional anti-miscegenation laws. “Black” doesn’t complement “white” or “brown” doesn’t complement “yellow”. A pair of biologically complementary genitals does not a happy relationship make – I’m sure this is evident by current divorce rates.

        Perhaps it is more about a strong connection between personalities that determines the fit of a couple, instead of their race or gender? Oh, of course not – when did marriage have anything to do with happiness?

  • Ordo says:

    Sim,

    Andrew is not ignorant and he is merely presenting things as they are. The liberal media is the one who promotes such stupidity. The liberal media is everywhere and I don’t think they are exactly the light of truth.

    Andrew does not appear homophobic in his article. He is merely saying that you cannot compare the two. What the black community had to endure is far worse than what gays face today in our country, yet the liberal media ignores that. I think it is an insult to say otherwise. One suffered a great deal more persecution.

    I find your statement about blatant lies interesting. Are we not fed blatant lies everyday by the popular media? I think so.

    Andrew did not say he hated gays. You assumed that.

  • Ted d'Anson says:

    There is no denying that the point Andrew here is trying to make is completely valid. No two struggles(gay rights, civil rights, women’s suffrage, religious rights in medieval Spain, those pesky barons who made King John sign the Magna Carta plus countless others) are the same and trying to compare them does a disservice to both. However, the path he chooses to take to get to that point is questionable to say the least.

    It’s akin to seeing an apple in a tree deciding against climbing up it to pick the apple in favour of torching the tree and letting the apple fall to the ground.

    Realistically, Andrew won’t (and shouldn’t be) fired nor should he be proclaimed as some sort champion of truth against the “liberal” media (FYI, that’s not a thing). This is a case of a college student working on his writing. He had an idea, took a shot at addressing it and will hopefully learn from the experience.

    The only real problem here is that someone related to the author felt compelled to defend him. Never in the history of the internet has a comment left by a family member even resulted in a positive outcome. If you absolutely must defend someone related to you on an online comments section of a website, use an alias.

  • Courtney says:

    As someone who is politically unaffiliated, and doesn’t conform to the agenda of either side, I guess I can’t really pick up the slack of ad hominems submitted by Sim – but I understand how upset he was, and I think their use was forgivable. Here’s why:

    - African American’s, who you call blacks, still endure racism in this country. Just because you aren’t exposed to it, living in North Idaho where the P.O.C. population is incredibly low, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Race is a hot button issue for a lot of people, and in a variety of ways. All the same, many agree that..

    - LGBTQ folks face a far more serious battle right now. One which leads to an entire host of suicides, murders and other abuses. A simple google search provides statistical analysis proving my point, in case you care to say I’m promoting the liberal agenda by refraining from citation (which, btw, Andrew does as a matter of course) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/anti-gay-hate-crimes-murders-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs_n_1564885.html.

    - I don’t really care if you think homosexuality is a choice. I don’t really care what your religious beliefs are. But I care that you are trying to impose your paradigm on the rest of society by way of legislation. I recognize you aren’t alone, but that’s hardly an excuse.

    - Finally, I would caution you that you aren’t thinking for yourself. You’ve chosen to align yourself with an extreme side of the debate, that’s for certain. But before you choose to promote their interests, you may want to do some research. I was very similarly militant conservative as a child, because it’s what I grew up in. It took me a while to figure out that the only real agenda a person should have is education – especially of themselves. If you want to think of yourself as a free thinker, do something different. Try to understand something different. Think about what it would be like if you DIDN’T have a choice in sexual orientation. I’m not asking you to change your beliefs, but empathy is the greatest weapon in any war. If you want to be taken seriously, employ it.

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