Monday, December 18, 2006

What gay rights has to do with civil rights

By Diane Silver

Thank you, Leonard Pitts. Once again, you've made sense of what many would either obscure or deny.

Today's column really hit home. However, it isn't just because I'm a lesbian, and Pitts is arguing for gay rights. The column also hit home because I am a firm believer that all people deserve fairness and equal treatment under the law, even those who are different than I am, and yes, even those who want to destroy me.

Pitts writes:
(N)o, gay people were not kidnapped from Gay Land and sold into slavery, nor lynched by the thousands. On the other hand, they do know something about housing discrimination, they do know job discrimination, they do know murder for the sin of existence, they do know the denial of civil rights, and they do know what it is like to be used as scapegoat and bogeyman by demagogues and political opportunists.

They know enough of what I know that I can't ignore it. See, I have yet to learn how to segregate my moral concerns. It seems to me if I abhor intolerance, discrimination and hatred when they affect people who look like me, I must also abhor them when they affect people who do not. For that matter, I must abhor them even when they benefit me. Otherwise, what I claim as moral authority is really just self-interest in disguise....

I believe in moral coherence. And Rule No. 1 is: You cannot assert your own humanity, then turn right around and deny someone else's.

Amen to that.

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