Homosexuality in Modern Day Society
Homosexuality is characterized by a sexual desire towards the members of the same sex. Today is it widely accepted throughout the West, including the united States, Canada and most of Europe. In many countries homosexuality still remains illegal and punishable by imprisonment or even execution in some places like Yemen, Nigeria and Iran.
In 1998, a CNN/Time poll showed that 64% of the participants believed that homosexuality is acceptable and 48% believed that it is morally wrong. Since the mainstream embrace of homosexuality took place, frustrated activists had to alter their strategies. No longer able to demonize homosexual people, critics such as Trent Lott, compared them to individuals who was afflicted with alcoholism or drug use, labeling homosexuality a “disease” that can be cured. A 1998 Newsweek poll showed that 56% of the respondents believed that homosexual people could alter their sexual orientation through therapy, religious conviction or will power.
The 90s were an very interesting time for the LGBT community. More and more people were becoming aware about this neglected group of our society. Bill clinton supported gay rights during his presidency but passed the Defense Marriage Act (1996) which denied recognition to same sex marriage, he also ended the policy of treating homosexual people are a security threat. 28 states enacted legislation outlawing gay marriages. A monumental achievement was the court case of Baker v. State (1999) that ruled in favor of gay marriage.
The first two decades of the twentieth century were a historic time for gay rights in the United States. 12 states and the district of Columbia legalized gay marriage between 2004 and 2013. Also in 2013, the US Supreme court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In 2015, the Supreme court rules that the states that ban gay marriage were unconstitutional, subsequently granting same sex couples the fundamental right to marry in all US states.
All this leads us to ask one question, why do some people disapprove of homosexuality? And are their statements scientifically valid? Being gay was expunged as a mental illness in 1973. Experiments were done on rats to research whether they can be gay or not, which lead to scientists now accepting that animals also engage in homosexual behavior. Homosexuality is a part of our evolutionary heritage. “Paul L. Vasey traces the occurrences of homosexuality in primates back to at least the oligocene epoch, 24-37 million years ago.”
“Homosexuals seeks equal rights, not special rights.” This is something many people cannot seem to comprehend, gay and lesbian activists continue to be hounded by the idea that they are somehow asking for more than others. Another argument used is that homosexuals come from privileged backgrounds, which is a false stereotype but this gives certain believe the comfort of believing that homosexual people are definitely asking for more rights than an average person. Additionally, the “special rights” rhetoric has the power to energize conservative christians, who use Jesus to condemn homosexuality. Using religion as an argument is not a justification, its criminal, like slavery.
In the past sixty years, we have come to recognize that members of various groups are entitled to the full measure of respect and rights, because we all share the same humanity. Like being woman, or like being a racial, religious or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you any less human. Many people believe that homosexuality is a western phenomena, being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality. Protecting the rights of homosexual people is not only western government does. South Africa’s constitution , written in the aftermath of apartheid, protects the equality of all people, including homosexual people. In Columbia and Argentina, the rights of gay people are also legally protected. In Nepal, the Supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to all LGBT citizens. There are many more countries that support the LGBT community. As we move forward, people should understand that we are honoring rights that people have always had, rather than creating special or new rights.