Repeal One Step Closer to Equality

Attiana Collins, Editor-In-Chief

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” states a well known line from the Declaration of Independence.

As stated in the Declaration, Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are rights that are supposed to be extended to everyone, no matter what race, religious preference, or sexual orientation. In America, however, Liberty, the state of being free within society from restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, is withheld from lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGB) all around the United States.

The first step towards LGBs not being treated like second-class citizens was taken on Sept. 20, 2011. On this day an estimated 66 thousand gay service members were allowed to serve openly in the military.

Prior to Sept. 20, homosexuals were unable to serve openly in the military due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, signed in by President Clinton in 1993. DADT was the United States’ official policy on homosexuals serving openly in the military. LGBs who were open about their sexual orientation faced punishment and expulsion.

The question that remains, however, is when will all the other rights that are extended to heterosexual citizens in America be given to homosexual citizens, both military and civilian?

As of right now, when it comes to the military, family members of same-sex couples aren’t allowed to live on base if their partner was ever deployed, because legally they aren’t married.

The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. The government should have no right to define exactly what makes a marriage. A marriage is a legal union between two people, no matter the sexes, who love one another and wish to devote the rest of their lives to each other.

The Department of Defense recently created a list of 14 benefits that gay military couples are allowed to have. Compared to the many benefits that heterosexuals are allowed to have, 14 seems like nothing. Same-sex couples in the military are denied equal access to medical care, housing, child care, and more.

Aside from the military, civilian LGBs are denied rights. A homosexual’s insurance, of any kind, wouldn’t count for his/her partner because legally, yet again, they’re not married. Same-sex couples are also being denied federal benefits including social security, tax, immigration and more than 1,100 other federal preferences tied to marriage. The list of luxuries heterosexuals are rewarded and homosexuals are denied goes on and on.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California introduced a bill to repeal DOMA that would assure that LGB couples would be offered the same rights and legal protections as straight couples. Obama, who has previously voiced his support for same-sex marriage, has yet to fix, or even make a dent, in the problem. Now the President is claiming his views are evolving and the administration is no longer defending DOMA in court, instead they are going to continue enforce the law until it is changed.

Another point is that the government is failing to see is how homosexuals are being treated affects young adults. In 2008, 1,706 hate crimes were committed based on sexual orientation, according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics. The risk of suicide attempts among LGB teens is 20 percent higher in communities that are less supportive of homosexuality than in supportive social environments. Indicators of a supportive community include: a percentage of same sex couples, presence of gay-straight alliances in schools, and anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies in schools that specifically protect LGB students. According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, Hawaii high school students have the highest self-reported prevalence of considering suicide, making a plan and attempting  suicide in the nation. Oahu had the most suicides of that age group with 27.

According to President Obama, in an announcement he made in Turkey, America isn’t a Christian nation. Then, why are we abiding by the rules of Christianity? The Bible states that being a homosexual is a sin. Okay, but what about every other sin? Is there a point system I’m unaware of? Every sin is equal. No one sin outweighs another. For example, the Bible states that “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” In this quote cheaters, drunks, and homosexuals will not make it to heaven. All of these sins have the same punishment, but why is it that you don’t see mass protests about drunks being banned from buying alcohol or cheaters from committing adultery? I am a strong believer in everyone having their own opinion, but that’s just it: it’s your opinion. If you practice Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other religion, that’s your choice-your belief. No one’s beliefs should be forced upon anyone else. Everyone should be able to live their own lives, the way they believe they should be living it.

America is seen to be the land of freedom and opportunity, but only under a certain set of rules. The government needs to realize that treating LGBs as if they don’t deserve the same rights is not only inhumane, but it shows the hypocrisy of the United States.