EDITORIAL: Gay rights gain ground in the U.S.
During the weekend, Oklahoma’s gay community showed its pride with a parade in Oklahoma City. Hundreds of people beat the heat to show their support and had a good time while doing it.
This is refreshing, since Oklahoma’s gay community does not usually have a high profile. When issues concerning gays are raised in this conservative state, it’s often in response to some sort of tragedy.
It is wonderful to see the community standing up on its own terms with its head held high.
The celebration was more than just an opportunity to show pride, though. All of the proceeds from this weekend’s activities will be donated to a planned health center.
Access to health services should not be limited by fear of stigma or discomfort with speaking frankly with your physician about sexual preference or anything else. In the wealthiest nation in the world, there is no excuse for any American citizen to have inadequate access to basic medical services, and we applaud this move.
While Oklahoma’s gay pride parade was colorful and boisterous in our state, it was dwarfed by the news coming out last week from Albany, N.Y.
On Friday, New York became the sixth state — and the largest so far — to legalize same-sex marriage.
This represents an enormous step forward for marriage equality in this country.
The current system discriminates and encourages discrimination. But this victory represents more than simply the rights of thousands of New Yorkers to feel like full citizens — it represents the rising tide of the gay-rights movement.
Several key amendments make this a victory for religious-freedom advocates as well. The New York law contains exceptions protecting religious charities and organizations that wish to continue to uphold a one man-one woman definition of marriage.
This is precisely the right balance between religious freedom and civil rights. Such a balance will avoid situations like the one in Illinois, where several branches of Catholic Charities announced they would no longer be handling adoptions after a new law would have prohibited them from referring same-sex couples to other adoption services.
The New York law is a triumph for proponents of both religious freedom and gay-rights activists, and Oklahoma would do well to consider such a model.
The recent string of state amendments barring gay marriage can be repealed, and they should be. It is not right for people to limit the rights of others because they don’t agree with their nonviolent actions.
Remember, “all men are created equal.”