The rights of homosexuals in American society have been in the public eye lately, and for one reason: Senator Rick Santorum's comments on the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas. The news is reporting that Santorum compared homosexuality to "bigamy, polygamy, and incest." Santorum vigorously insists that these comments were taken out of context. Having read the full transcript, I would not say that they were; however, the root issue here is deeper.

"I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their [sexual] orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon these orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions."
Santorum repeatedly states that he has no problem with homosexuals; however, he goes on to say that sex acts outside of the traditional ethic of marriage are destructive to families and should not be allowed. Santorum approves of the homosexual lifestyle, as long as any sexual activity outside of intercourse is prohibited. To his credit, he believes the same regulations should apply to heterosexuals. Gee, thanks, Rick.

AP: "So without being too gory or graphic, if somebody is homosexual, would you argue that they should not have sex?"

Santorum: "We have laws in states ... for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue that [acts of sodomy] undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your own home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does."

Gay activist groups have been calling for Santorum's expulsion from his Senate leadership post. The outcry is nowhere near that which occurred due to Trent Lott's support of J. Strom Thurmond's 1948 Presidential campaign, and the reason is simple: many, many Americans support Santorum's position. Homosexuality is still treated as a deviant culture by the majority of the nation -- watch a little TV -- and this needs to stop. Systematic persecution of gays is akin to the mistreatment of blacks from Reconstruction to the present day. The internment of the Japanese. The methodical alienation and abuse of Native Americans.

Each of these social flaws was eventually perceived as wrong. The tide turned forty years ago for African-Americans, and fifty-five years ago for the Japanese. Whenever any social group has been oppressed by traditional conservative principles, it took a concentrated effort with millions of participants to expose the mistreatment that went on every day.

It could be argued that Santorum's comments do not exemplify persecution and attacks on homosexuals. The senator has no problem per se with homosexuals, as long as he is able to keep them from enjoying the privileges granted to the rest of society.

"My discussion with the Associated Press was about the Supreme Court privacy case, the constitutional right to privacy in general... My comments should not be misconstrued in any way as a statement on individual lifestyles."
Take a look at yourselves, America. Until no one in the nation is denied their rights, our nation will never be truly equal nor a free country.


Quotes taken from the AP interview with Rick Santorum, available at http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl =story&u=/ap/20030422/ap_on_go_co/santorum_gays_excerpts_2 (without the space), and Sen. Santorum's rebuttal of media accusations, available at http://santorum.senate.gov/pressreleases/record.cfm?id=203106 .

Homophobia is the new racism

On 5 December 2002, Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) made several remarks about how segregation would have saved the country "all these problems over all these years." The public uproar was immediate and severe; following 15 days of criticism and calls for blood from all corners, Lott resigned his post as Senate Majority Leader.

On 3 March 2003, Represenative Jim Moran (D-VA) told a group of his constituents that a Jewish conspiracy was driving the current war with Iraq. Cue media outrage.

On 7 April 2003, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) said in an interview with the Associated Press that homosexual intercourse is on par with incest, pedophilia, and beastiality and as such should be illegal. He then went on to say that gays are undermining "the fabric of our society" and destroying the "healthy, stable, traditional family." The silence has been deafening.

The reponse to Santorum's comments is a saddening indicator that the land where All Men Are Created Equal still has a way to go before it can wear that title honestly. Discrimination against gays is the new racism, the last socially acceptable refuge of the bigot. All over this land, gays and those sticking up for their rights can safely expect an assault of some kind, verbal at the minimum, physical at the probable.

To those who cite "moral purity" and religious convictions as grounds for attacking homosexuality, I say this: less than 100 years ago, segregation and sterilization, both of the blacks and of the Jews, were considered measures for maintaining such purity and convictions. Today, it would be unthinkable for someone to take the stand that sex between an African-American couple be made illegal.

I applaud the work that the civil rights movement has done over the past decades. Those activists have accomplished much to bring equality, both in name and in practice, to America's racial minorities. However, "civil" does not stop at the bounds of race. Civil rights means all, gay or straight, black or white, are equal, both under the law and in the public eye. Until this is accomplished, some will still be more equal than others.

This was a letter to the editor of my university's student newspaper, inspired by magicmanzach's writeup above.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.