By Katie Wong
Equal rights can also be referred to as human rights (rights held by everyone without the restriction of the government.) Only nineteen out of the fifty states in the United States recognize same-sex marriage. Several states have tried to bar federal recognition in United States v. Windsor. United States v. Windsor happened when the Supreme Court struck down Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because it was found unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA restricted that “marriage” and “spouses” should only apply to heterosexual unions. Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were married in 2007 in Ontario, Canada, after 40 years of romantic partnership. Spyer had left her estate to Windsor when she died in 2009 at New York; however Windsor was required to pay $363,053 in federal estate taxes because the federal law did not recognize their marriage. Since heterosexual couples were recognized under DOMA, they wouldn’t have to pay any federal estate taxes when their spouses died. Heterosexual couples were also qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction.
Even though DOMA is now found unconstitutional, many states still refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.
Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Questioning/Queer, Asexual, Pansexual, and Intersex (LGBTQAPI) people are still being discriminated every day and being killed, beaten, and jailed for who they love. Some of the states encourage discrimination upon the LGBTQAPI community. For example, the Kansas House Bill 2453 (HB 2453), which was proposed would allow people to refuse any services to the relationships they did not agree with. Kansas has also banned same –sex marriage in 2005 and has prohibited discrimination in only government employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Similarly, a majority of Russians supports laws discriminating against people in the LGBT and opposes same-sex marriage. Homophobia is also increasing in Russia, Africa, and in parts of Asia countries.
People are trying to deny other people’s rights even though it doesn’t affect them directly. Same- sex couples are not allowed to adopt children in countries, even though the people who put children up for adoption are usually the heterosexual couples. It doesn’t make sense to ban homosexual couples from adopting children because most heterosexual couples would rather have children of their own rather than to adopt. This would be the cause of more homeless children, and they would have to be put in filled orphanages or foster homes. Some people would rather have children un-adopted, in a foster home, or in an orphanage than have them adopted by a loving same—sex couples who could provide the children with a safe environment.
It is frustrating when heterosexual people deny the rights of LGBTQAPI people because they don’t agree with their “life style choices.” For example, there is a cake analogy around, “Voting against gay marriage is like ordering a piece of cake at a restaurant and having a complete stranger saying ‘waiter, cancel that cake. That cake it’s ruining my cake and I don’t know how to explain it to my children.’” People should not be allowed to have a say in the laws that would not directly affect them. It is unfair that some people can get married because it is seen as the “norm.”
Everyone should have equal rights because no one should have their rights taken away because of someone who doesn’t agree with how they live their lives. The United States of America prides itself on freedom however, many people would agree with a lyric from one of Macklemore’s song, “No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it.” (end)