Claiming that the “voice of the people must be heard” and that “America is a free society,” Bush has once again managed to contradict himself in a televised address presenting his own skewed views on gay marriage last Tuesday.Our president seems to believe, obviously, that homosexuals are not the “people of our country,” for by amending the Constitution, he would seclude them from being part of this society. They too are not “free,” for they currently cannot obtain the same benefits that heterosexual couples have under gay civil unions.
“Our government should respect every person,” said Bush. Please, Mr. President: explain to me how the government, and yourself, are re-spectful of every person if you discriminate against a person based on sexual orientation? How, Mr. President, are you respectful of the government itself if you are manipulating this body which serves the people, not you to meet the needs of your own distasteful politics and religious perspectives?
John Edwards, along the campaign trail, said it best: “Washington has no business playing politics with this is-sue. Marriage is left to the states today, and should remain with the states.” He continued, “If President Bush wants to stand up for marriage, he ought to help millions of married couples who are living paycheck to paycheck….he should tackle the marriage penalty that punishes poor families when they marry.”
The topic Bush persistently avoids is why he believes gay marriage to be harmful to so many institutions and people, including children.
Heterosexual couples are doing more harm to the institution of marriage and to children because of high divorce and child abuse rates. Homosexual couples would have the opportunity, if marriage is approved, to improve the institution of marriage and improve the lives of orphaned children.
If our country can’t allow the same benefits of married couples for civil union couples, adopted children and family members will suffer immensely in the event of the homosexual loved one’s death. With every paycheck, this person pays into the Social Security system totaling more than $1,800 a month. Survivors of the loved one have no access to these funds when the death occurs.
A Human Rights Campaign poll shows that 78 percent of gay people want to be able to marry some day. HRC President and homosexual Cheryl Jacques says, “President Bush is trying to win this election on our backs. He is playing politics with our lives and our families. It’s intolerable, it’s shameful and it’s an ugly way to run a campaign.”
Many people, Jacques says, don’t realize the blatant discrimination that homosexuals face in everyday life. Because of their sexual orientation, they can be fired in 36 states. In 46 states, a transgender person can be fired as well. Homosexuals can be blocked at the hospital door a refusal from the health care system and will not receive Social Security benefits.
Think about it: aren’t these limitations shockingly similar in magnitude to the discrimination that African Americans faced and still face ever since they were brought to the United States?
It’s time for the Gay Civil Rights Era. It’s time for homosexuals to have the right to marry. It’s time for equal benefits in all areas. It’s time for Bush to keep his political and religious agenda out of the lives of free, independent American lives including those of homosexuals.
Erin Joyce is a senior majoring in communication.