Equal Protection?

It’s becoming more frustrating to be an American every day, especially one that still believes in equal rights for individuals. Now we learn that South Africa is more enlightened than the United States of America by moving towards ensuring that homosexual citizens who love each other will be granted the same legal rights as heterosexual citizens enjoy.

South Africa, a country with a much more recent history of racial strife and class warfare than the United States, has somehow lifted itself out of that thinking long enough to understand that allowing any two people who love each other to share the same legal classification no matter their gender is the right thing to do.

“When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of colour, creed, culture and sex,” Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told parliament.

This is a sentiment that I would love to see adopted here in the United States, it sounds somehow familiar but not very representative of our current political landscape.

The United States of America, with its own history of racial strife and class warfare, has instead been extremely divided on the issue. I believe that there are three distinct reasons why it is so hard for some people to allow, what for many people makes complete sense, from occurring.

Reason #1 : The basic reason, there are some people who are just opposed to things that are different or that they don’t understand. Some people find the thought of two people of the same sex ‘loving’ each other disgusting. Because of this base inability to understand something they don’t understand they are willing to deny those people their rights to equal protection under the law.

Reason #2 : Religious. For some reason, which as a former preacher I can’t understand, there are those that think the bible says that two people who are of the same sex can’t love each other. It is ‘against god’s will’. Yet, there are only two passages in the bible that even come close to saying this, one is a part of Leviticus that also mentions such things as

Leviticus 19:19: “do not plant your field with two kinds of seed, do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”

Leviticus 19:27: “do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard”

Leviticus 25:44: “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves”

Leviticus 11:10: “But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water you are to detest”

Leviticus 20:27: “a man or woman who is a medium or spiritualist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them”

I think we can all agree that these tenets are no longer put into practice for most Christians.

The other passage is an often misinterpreted passage from Paul, a man who never met Jesus and is responsible for much of what modern Christians term as canon. Jesus himself is never credited with anything related to homosexuality. He did, however, state very clearly that divorces should no longer be allowed. Again, I don’t see many problems for continuing to allow divorces for most Christians against the will of Jesus.

Of course, this is all besides the point because while it may be against a person’s religion to perform a specific behavior, what kind of arrogance does it take to think that your personal religious beliefs should be made law and all citizens of a country should be forced to follow those tenets?

Reason #3 : Power. Because of the previous two reasons the idea of homosexual marriage becomes a great wedge issue for both sides. While a real compromise could be achieved, as I have blogged about before, neither side wants that to occur because that issue would no longer exist as a means for them to pit voters against each other. So by no means will the two existing parties ever work towards any kind of compromise on this issue (and many others). It’s an either or situation for them, if they win on their terms then they can use the issue as an example of why to KEEP voting for them, if they lose on their terms they can use the issue as an example of why to START voting for them. Compromise is not an option.

So while we allow our two-party system, neither of which represents the interests of most Americans, to drag our country into a stagnant morass of ineptitude, countries that we should either be leading or inspiring are passing us by until we become inconsequential in the view of most humans on the planet.

All because we want to tell two people that they can’t legally love each other?

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