Special vs Equal Rights

By | 2011/12/07

Today the US government tied foreign aid to the level of treatment offered to the LGTBI population of countries, following in the footsteps of Great Britain.

Predictably, the right wing politicians and fundamentalist religious types have been quick to condemn this. For instance, the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, condemned it, saying:

“This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.”

(“Republicans condemn LGBT aid pledge“, Star Observer Online, 7 December 2011.)

It’s worth pointing out, yet again, that there’s a lot of people who are massively confused as to the difference between “special rights” and “equal rights”.

Let’s consider some examples here:

  1. Heterosexuals in all Western countries can marry one another.
  2. Heterosexual couples in most if not all Western countries can adopt.
  3. Heterosexuals can give blood.
  4. A heterosexual couple can safely walk down any street in any Western country holding hands and not be attacked on the grounds that they’re holding hands.

What are they examples of, you may be wondering?

Why, they’re examples of special rights. Why?

  1. Homosexuals in most Western countries are still unable to marry one another.
  2. Homosexual couples in most Western countries can’t adopt.
  3. Homosexual men typically can’t give blood.
  4. There are a great many streets in Western countries that a homosexual couple would not be able to walk safely down whilst holding hands, without fear of attack or reprisal just for holding hands.

So tell me now – who has the special rights here?

Anyone who runs around shouting that the LGTBI community is trying to steal or otherwise achieve special rights is either a bigot, or a mouthpiece for one.