discriminatory laws are not amusing

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A previous letter to the editor, "Sodomy laws target gay people unequally," was responded to with the brush-off "There are bigger worries than sex." Tired of ignorant laughter, I responded with this:

I find it appalling that a recent letter writer complained about objections to sodomy laws, and described the objections as "humorous." Equal treatment before the law is one of the tenets of our legal system, although this principle is often overlooked when disfavored groups are being disproportionately affected or targeted outright. The original letter writers clearly explained how prejudicial sodomy laws obstruct civil rights, ranging from public accommodations and job-related discrimination to the custody of one's children and the sanctity of one's home. What, exactly, is humorous about realizing the blatant bigotry of discharging gays and lesbians from the military or refusing to recognize same-sex marriages?

Objecting to such injustices is not, as the complainer suggested, due to gays "worrying about" sex. In fact, it appears that straight people are the ones worried about - or even obsessed with - gay sex. Why else would legislators ignore larger concerns (such as shrinking state budgets, a faltering economy, and the looming threat of war) to support laws invading people's bedrooms? Small-minded elected officials somehow feel entitled to regulate the private activities of consenting adults, using the voice of government to express their own bias.

Despite the exclamations of morally myopic obstructionists in state and national government, non-discrimination statutes that protect sexual orientation (such as Delaware's H.B. 99) are long overdue for passage, and all remaining sodomy laws are equally overdue for repeal. The Supreme Court should discard these remnants of ancient prejudices, and use Lawrence v. Texas to correct the error it perpetrated in 1986 with Bowers v. Hardwick. In the interest of justice, no other action is appropriate.

UPDATE: An edited version of this letter was published on 6 March as "Treatment of gays is no laughing matter."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 28, 2003 10:56 PM.

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