Love wins when marriage equality is achieved in Washington DC, 2010
Equal rights are human rights.We all suffer if some of us are discriminated against and denied equality, and we all win if all have it.
The human race is in a constant struggle for equality. There are, at any given point in time, many groups discriminated against and fighting for the right to be treated just like everyone else. The discrimination can be based on many things and endless categories, and different societies may have different lists of protected classes or groups, or not. Here in the U.S. we have constitutional rights and freedoms and our own list, with one building block created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prevents discrimination in educational facilities and public workplace and indicates that a person may not be discriminated against based on the following:
· National Origin
· Ethnic Background
· Religious Beliefs
· Sexual Orientation
In Addition, The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that took effect in 1968, states that:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The battle for LGBT rights and marriage equality has been ranging for decades. On October 6th, 2014, The United States Supreme Court refused to hear appeals of lower courts rulings, which upheld the rights of gay men and lesbians to marry, in the face of state rules trying to stop them. The Court made the rulings of the lower courts permanent in five states (Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin) and opened the door to similarly equal marriage rights in other states–beginning the very next day with Idaho and Nevada and six other states (Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming) right behind, since bound by same appellate rulings put on hold pending Supreme Court review (which will put the number of states with marriage equality at 30). This is a relatively new change (Massachusetts lead the recognition of gay marriage in 2004) and the progress in this area for equality is nothing short of remarkable, and enjoys majority support, in spite of vocal religious groups’ objections.
In Russia the process had been fast deteriorating in the other direction. Although the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulted in the liberalization of anti-LGBT laws, including the decriminalization of homosexual relationships in 1993 and allowing transgender Russians to change their legal gender on identity documents (with many obstacles to the process and invasive surgery requirements remaining in place), things recently took a big turn for the worst.
On June 2013, the Russian Duma passed a new law banning the “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relationships“ to minors. Human Rights Watch indicated that:
“This anti-LGBT anti-gay “propaganda” law, which was passed unanimously by the Russian parliament, has served as a tool for anti-gay discrimination, and that the law’s adoption coincided with the spread of violence and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people and LGBT rights activists, and a rise in homophobic hate speech by some Russian officials and public figures, Human Rights Watch research found.”
The law also limit substantially people’s ability to protest and demonstrate, and in spite of not being a conspiracy theorist, I found it perplexing that ALL the photos I could find on Flicker that showed arrests and violent acts against protesting gay people by authorities, as well as vigilantes, in Russia were disabled.
Ben Steele’s documentary “Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia” paints a horrifying and disturbing picture of LGBT persons being hunted in Russia, with no protection and actual facilitation by the authorities. At the heart of Steele’s film is a scene where a young gay man was lured into an apartment by a vigilante group called “Occupy Pedophilia,” (after being contacted by a member of the group pretending to be gay, via social media), under the pretext of arranging a sexual hook-up. The young man is surrounded by a group of 13 violence–loving homophobic men, lead surprisingly by a woman. She plays the dominant chief inquisitor and humiliator role with great relish and glee. He is interrogates by her on camera (for outing him on social media), and allows the guys to humiliate him, beat him up and threatened to urinate on him (which apparently they frequently do).
Just like Putin and all other thugs on the street of Russia who freely conflate homosexuality with pedophilia , this self appointed keeper of morality and the narrow/ignorant view of human sexuality, peppers her interrogation with pedophilia references, although she never explores it specifically with her victim of the hour.
It is interesting to ponder why marriage equality and LGBT rights are in such opposite ends of the evolving social/political structure in the U.S. (enlightened and light) as opposed to Russia (backwards and dark). This dichotomy might be linked to a history of philosophical and constitutional freedoms and increasing practical and real life equality for many, following years of struggles and battles, in the U.S. vs. years of oppression and central harsh social/political/economic controls in Russia (from the Czar to the Communist Party to rule of corrupt Oligarch’s to Putin, and combination of all of the above).
The fundamental truth is that everyone, and the world as a whole, benefits from all being equal. Human beings are all alike and as such must enjoy all the same rights and privileges, as well as, obligations and responsibilities. I cannot think of any valid argument to the contrary, can you?
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