Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gay Rights V Civil Rights

In today's society, discrimination displays itself in many different forms. One particular form of segregation is in the relationship between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Recently, six students have committed suicide due to discrimination based on sexual orientation. During the past Civil Rights era, African Americans were distinguished based on the color of their skin and not the contents of their character. Are homosexuals not human? Sexual discrimination is something that the Civil Rights Movement was supposed to eliminate. However, when one looks back at the Civil Rights Movement, one recognizes that Christianity plays a key role in the battle. Thus, is Gay Rights included in Civil Rights?

Now, when I said is gay rights apart of Civil Rights, one would have to look at the definition of Civil Rights. Civil and political rights are a set of rights and freedoms that defend individuals from unwarranted deed by government, private parties, and individuals, guaranteeing one's ability to take part in the national and biased life of the state without prejudice or subjugation. However, in a Christian based society, the bible plays a major role in the verdicts of some judgmental minds. The bible condemns a man lying with another man and people take that as a literal definition. However, when activists fought for equal rights, they meant for everyone, not just heterosexuals.

While my view is not to condemn Christians for their different views, those who believe strictly in the bible would argue against such a "vile" act. However, the law clearly indicates that we as Americans are not allowed to deny any citizen equal rights. Thus, why is gay marriage illegal? While modern day activists are still fighting for the elimination of discrimination, we see that gay discrimination is more widely accepted amongst the nation more than racial discrimination.

Over two weeks ago, a young man by the name of Tyler Clementi committed suicide after his roommate at Rutgers exposes to the world that his is homosexual. Using skype and youtube as their weapons, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei decided to videotape Dharun’s roommate having sex with another male in their dorm room. Nonetheless, this act of discrimination received mass media coverage. On the other hand, these students got off a lot easier than many people expected did. Dharun and Molly were charged with two accounts of invasion of privacy.

Does an event like this one not strike a concern in the way the law reacts to heinous crimes? In actuality, this case could be considered a civil suit due the fact that these students broke not only the law but also the obligation of respecting one’s privacy and attempting to purposely harm their self-being. In this case, a life was stolen and the criminals were directly a reason to the lost. Thus, should not this case be a hay crime?

Do you find Gay Rights a part of Civil Rights? Is these kinds of situations not covered by the law? Did the two students at Rutgers get off easily? Post Comments, Questions, and Opinions.


  1. Gay rights are most definitely a part of Civil rights, but I do not believe that is the only issue at hand in this scenario. The discrimination presented by the two individuals because of Clementi's sexual orientation is wrong in every sense of the word. With this said the law cannot blame the two offenders for the loss of life that ensued. I also will agree that punishment should have been a bit more severe, but the justice system that is incorporated with internet use has been lacking for over a decade, and until privacy can be upheld within the infinite abyss of the internet these situations will continue to occur.

  2. Gay rights are a part of civil rights. It is a shame that our society has not progressed to a level where gay marriage is not legal, and it is more than hurtful to hear about gay youth struggling day-to-day because of their sexuality. I find the role of Christianity and/or religion interesting in all of this because while many people form their beliefs off of a literal translation of a text (the Bible) that was written by man in a completely different time and context than today, our leaders should not base their decisions off of these same beliefs. Not every citizen in the United States is Christian, and thus, not everyone should have to live under that certain set of beliefs or guidelines. Gay rights are most certainly included in civil rights, and just as the activists during the civil rights movement fought for political and legal freedom, they were also fighting for their dignity and humanity. They just wanted to be able to have pride in who they were no matter what color their skin was or where they came from. It is the exact same now. The LGBT community is fighting for the chance to take pride in who they are, and I can only hope that more of society and the government will wake up and see this too.

  3. Gay rights and civil rights go hand in hand. It's particularly interesting in the case of marriage. All citizens in the United States have the right to marry the person of their choosing except homosexuals. The law is in place because of the Christian belief that man should be with a woman. Our government also supposedly upholds the belief that church is separate from state. In other words, religion should have no part in government or legal matters. This seems a little hypocritical to me.

  4. Along the lines of what Jake said, I also find the concept of marriage to be an odd one. Shouldn't marriage just be between people who care about each other? Does it really matter if they happen to be the same sex?
    I see a tie between this and African American civil rights; this is because there were places that integrated first and places that treated African Americans as equals (or closer to) first. Similarly, there are places, like Massachusetts that are treating gays and lesbians more equally sooner than other places. Hopefully, like the Civil Rights Movement we are learning about, a movement for gays and lesbians will bring justice to them as well.

  5. Gay rights are definitely part of civil rights!

    Jake said something very true concerning legal matters and gay rights: people’s beliefs whatever they are, cannot in any way influence the law. Because of beliefs and national resistance, gay rights are not stated in the law yet… but human rights are.

    In Tyler Clementi’s case, human rights should have been taken more into consideration (even if he is gay, that does not take away his humanity!). What was done to him was more than an “invasion of privacy”; it was a violation of privacy and a cruel act from Dharun and Molly! I do believe they got off very easily and the sentence given must not have been satisfactory at all for Tyler Clementi’s family. Even if they were not totally responsible for his death, they did lead him to it.

    Marriage, adoption, insurance, medical care, public criticism… are the main obstacles for gay couples, because it prevents them from being part of a society and therefore it is discrimination. I can see why gay rights and the civil rights movement are linked: both of them are/were discriminated and fighting for equality. I do hope one day we will reach an absolute level of non-discrimination for gay and lesbian people.

  6. I agree that gay rights is a part of civil rights. I sometimes wonder if people will look back on today sometime in the future and question why the public seemed so against gay marriage the way we look back and wonder why African Americans were denied of their rights not so long ago. I also think it is very dangerous to try and use the Bible to defend your statement, as it has been used to defend many heinous things in the past, such as slavery. Today we would think someone saying "slavery was alright in the Bible, so that must mean it's alright now" would be crazy. But the same type of argument is being used to deny homosexuals of their rights to be married.

  7. Gay rights are Civil Rights but when concerning the Civil Rights, I believe that African Americans spoke of themselves, but being gay could have been even more of a battle, for whites and especially blacks, being black in a white supremacist society and gay in a massive Christian society. Gays rights weren't much of public concern until recently. People see the color of your skin first before anything such as your sexual preference.

    Gay rights is like less extreme version of the Civil Rights Movement in the 50s where an entire race was fighting and whereas now, gays make up a fairly small, unrecognized portion of the population. And as Caroline and Sophie said they are fight for the same rights as African Americans did and even more rights today. The Bible still reigns as the number one piece of literature and is still a powerful tool that dictates the law. But at the end of the day it is all still the same struggle--for rights.

    As for the students at Rutgers, though the incident was a tragic one, I can't think of anything else that the students could have been charged with besides invasion of privacy because they did not physically harm the student. It is more of the fault of society because they lead gays to feel like they should be quiet and disclosed about who they are because of the way they are being treated. If the society were more accepting of people who's views were different from there own then actions as this would not happen, hate crimes throughout the Civil Rights movement would not have occurred. We are not in the Medieval Period anymore. Science has long since replaced religion, but to contradict that statement, most people in the world have a religious background, and it does personally dictate them and the values of the church still reign.