As a country, America is greatly divided over the issue of same-sex marriage.

A recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows Americans are equally divided at 50 percent on whether Americans believe gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said it will take up the issue to determine if the dozens of states in which voters overwhelmingly approved gay marriage bans are legal.

We believe voters in the states where these bans were voted in should have their voices upheld by the high court, but ultimately it is up to the justices to decide on the constitutionality.

One aspect of the same-sex marriage debate that is a concern and seems insulting to the black community is how some advocates compare the issue to the civil rights movement.

Comments such as these have rightfully brought angry responses from some leaders of the black and gay communities. They believe the struggle for civil rights and the issue of same-sex marriage couldn’t be any more different.

Last year, 110 black pastors filed an amicus brief in Michigan not only opposing same-sex marriage, but in the brief they particularly rejected comparisons between the gay movement and the civil rights movement.

Civil rights activist Rev. William Owens, who is founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, says there is no comparison between the civil rights movement and the gay community’s fight for same-sex marriage.

Even the conservative gay journalist Charles Winecoff once wrote, “Newsflash: blacks in America didn’t start out as hip-hop fashion designers; they were slaves. There’s a big difference between being able to enjoy a civil union with the same sex partner of your choice – and not being able to drink out of a water fountain, eat at a lunch counter, or use a rest room because you don’t have the right skin color.”

Another who tried to compare this to the civil rights movement is Saundra Ardrey, head of the political science department at Western Kentucky University.

Ardrey believes it’s a great issue for the courts to decide and believes it is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, when the Supreme Court stepped in to protect African-Americans’ right to vote.

However, voting rights protection for blacks was not given by the Supreme Court, but was rather enacted by Congress in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

To compare the very unfair treatment black Americans had to go through under Jim Crow laws and earlier discrimination in Northern cities to the fight to allow gays the right to get married is just wrong.

Blacks weren’t allowed to use the same bathroom or water fountains as whites, blacks couldn’t eat at the same restaurants as whites, blacks couldn’t attend the same schools as whites, stay at the same hotels as whites, weren’t allowed to live in the same neighborhoods as whites or go to public swimming pools and had to sit in balconies at all white theaters, etc.

Gays are allowed to do everything black people for so long weren’t able to do. How often do you hear stories of gays being denied access to theaters or restaurants, schools or swimming pools because of their sexuality?

That’s the difference. This is why people like Ardrey and others who support same-sex marriage are simply reaching to try to compare their struggle to practices that unjustly oppressed a people for 200-plus years.

These comparisons don’t come close to measuring up. Members of the black community should be offended that people would try to compare legalizing same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement.

We believe those who are doing so are simply trying to advance their agendas.

In doing so, they are wrongfully attempting to equate this effort to the oppression blacks experienced on multiple levels for far too long.

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(7) comments

StopAndThink

Massachusetts alone has required a government issued marriage license since 1639. So no - marriage has not "always been views" as religion only institution.

And no one is saying you can't believe and think what you want. Be a bigot. Be anti-Semitic. Be a racist. Be a homophobe. Believe whatever you want. But the LAW is not based on your "beliefs". It is based on the rights of EVERYONE.

Talley - You have proven time and again on these forums that you are closed-minded hateful person who would deny rights to people you think are inferior or wrong just because they don't share the same "beliefs" as you. Luckily, that is not your call to make and you are part of the rapidly shrinking minority in this country. And no one really cares that you are a taxpayer, voter, or vet because those three things don't give you a special privilege over anyone else and millions of us can claim one or more of the same things.

elvisinky

So just because one day someone said that ALL OF US must now think only the PC way then all things not considered PC are lumped into the racist, bigoted, hateful pile ?
I think not.

Marriage has always been viewed and accepted as a religious ceremony directly associated and connected with religion. Only since the whole gay marriage issue has come to light has it been twisted and tweaked in order to fit the gay base agenda.

Bob Talley
Voter / Taxpayer / Vet

StopAndThink

@NOT All Knowing:
Why isn't is good enough? Because it's NOT the same thing, is it? If it was, you'd have called them by the same term. Two different terms means they are different. Sounds to me like you are harkening back to the day of "separate but equal" laws. That was ruled unconstitutional - so why would it be OK to apply to gays? The crux is that "separate but equal" doesn't work because once you "separate" baed on an arbitrary criteria, then they can't be "equal".

Marriage is also about more than tax and health advantages, don't you think? Or is your mind THAT narrow?

Also, let me remind you that MARRIAGE is a LEGAL agreement, bound by LAW and enacted by government. It is NOT a "religious" agreement, other than that you may believe it is based on your faith. Don't believe me? Then try to get ant type of spousal rights WITHOUT a license issued from the government. The "marriage certificate" the church may give you is meaningless in the eyes of the law without there being a license as well.

Here is some info pulled form LEGALMATCH.com. Similar info is all over the web - if you cared to look rather than blather.

*********
What Is Marriage?

Marriage is a legal status that is given to a couple by a state government. Regardless of where the marriage is issued, and subject to a few exceptions, it should be recognized by every state and nation around the world. Marriage is desirable because it has several unique rights, protections, and obligations at both the state and federal level for both spouses.

What Is a Civil Union?

A civil union is a legal status that provides many of the same protections as marriage does to both same-sex or heterosexual couples. However, these protections are only available at the state level. Federal protections such as tax and social security benefits are unavailable to the civilly united. States that have domestic partnership or civil union laws include Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois.

What Is Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is another legal status that gives some of the rights of marriage, regardless of whether the couple is same-sex or not. A few states have adopted domestic partnerships as a way to give couples the benefit of some rights they otherwise may not enjoy. States which use domestic partnerships in place of same-sex marriage include: Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin. However, much like civil unions, it is important to keep in mind that not all the rights of marriage are the same for domestic partnerships.

What Are the Differences between Marriage and Civil Unions?

There are significant differences between the benefits and responsibilities of marriage and civil unions. People who are married usually enjoy more benefits than those in civil unions, including:

Legal recognition of the relationship in other states
The ability to divorce in any state, regardless of where married
Tax benefits available to married couples only
Immigration benefits when petitioning for a non-citizen spouse
Federal benefits, such as social security, medical, and life insurance

*********


I don't have to agree or honor your opinions. But please state where I wrote below anything about homophobic or hate speech. Here's a hint - I DIDN'T.

So why are you trying to spin this into a anti-gay marriage thread? It's about CIVIL RIGHTS - which is a whole lot more than marriage. I notice you didn't address ANY of the points I made (instead just went off on the marriage tangent). I'll guess you didn't because it's obvious the BGDN position is totally in the wrong and indefensible. So either you think murdering gays for their “lifestyle” is either OK or not worth commenting on?

Maybe you have a soft brain - but no 9 judges or anyone else tells me what to think. What they do do is maintain the rights for EVERYONE and support or strike down laws - not just for those in the vocal majority. Go back to elementary school and learn how the government works with check and balances. WIthout those 9 judges, there'd still be "whites only" and "colored only" restrooms. I don't know - maybe you'd like that?

Don't hold you breath about me demanding churches must hold gay marriages (or waste any more of your time thinking you know what I am going to say). A church, as a religious entity, would be exempt from that. Just like now if you aren't Catholic you can't get married in a Catholic church. No one is screaming about that, are they? Or churches that won’t let you marry there unless you are a member.

As for tax exempt status, I don’t think anyone or anything should be tax exempt - regardless of stance on gay rights. Everyone and everything utilizes things that taxes pay for - roads, emergency services, aid/relief, etc. I say tax everyone to reduce the burden on the rest of us.

The All Knowing

Stop and Think will be happy to let the world know why a civil union that gives gay couples EVERY tax and health advantage of marriage is not good enough, but we should change the definition of the word marriage. So, in your opinion changing the definition of a word equals civil rights? Why don't you just call is for what it is? You are interested in not honoring the opinions of anyone who thinks differently and would label their thoughts as hate speech and homophobic. Because after all, the best way to handle dissent is to attempt to destroy, malign and impugn the reputation of the person having a different opinion.

And why should states be allowed to vote on issues when 9 unelected Judges can tell 360 Million Americans what they should think. I look so forward to your discussion on the advantages of marriage over civil unions. And I look forward to the near future when you demand that churches that don't believe in homosexuality are forced to perform "gay marriages" or have their tax exempt status revoked. That will show them for sure.

StopAndThink

And here's a couple more for the education of the Editor:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/25/ariz-bill-allowing-owners-to-deny-services-based-on-religion-spark-strong/

Luckily, this didn't pass.

and

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/05/29/3442566/texas-anti-gay-restaurant/

StopAndThink

From Merriam-Webster online:

CIVIL RIGHTS

": the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to United States citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress "

Seems to me that the issues surrounding the "struggles of gays" ARE a civil rights issue. Civil rights are not exclusive to race. If any African American is insulted that the term civil rights is applied to anyone other than their "group" then they are the ones who are truly racist. Civil rights are for EVERYONE. Everyone to have the same rights regardless of race, ethnic background, sex, age, religion, and yes - even sexual preference.

So it's not the same thing because "blacks" had it tougher? Tell that to Mathew Shepard and Harvey Milk. Does the author of this article even know who they are? Read this long list of violent crimes against "gays":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_acts_of_violence_against_LGBT_people#United_States

And "blacks" couldn't use the same businesses and facilities as whites, so they had it harder? So I guess this short list of just a few examples doesn't apply?

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/02/2244711/15-examples-of-anti-gay-discrimination-conservatives-want-to-preserve/

Here is some more reading that might enlighten the Editor:

http://76crimes.com/100s-die-in-homophobic-anti-gay-attacks-statistics-updates/

or

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/anti-gay-hate-crimes-murders-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs_n_1564885.html

or

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/05/20/being-gay-can-still-get-you-killed/

I am APPALLED at the absolute IGNORANCE the author of this article demonstrates. What closed minded idiot wrote this tripe? To deny ANY group their civil rights just because it doesn't match up point-for-point with the "black experience" is ludicrous. The BG Daily News should be ASHAMED to have published this drivel.

Larry Fiehn

>We believe voters in the states where these bans were voted in should have their voices upheld by the high court..>

"Left to voters in Southern States like Kentucky, blacks still would not have voting rights. See, Mr. Editor, rights and Constitutional provisions like "equal protection under the law" and Article IV, Section 1: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state." are not subject to popular opinion....thankfully."

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