Reaction to Civil Rights

Pages: 6 (2282 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Civil Rights Paper #1 Revision
{Highlighted portions are new additions}

In the early 1960’s there was a movement for African Americans to gain their civil rights in America. Following this movement, there have been several movements for groups of Americans to also gain civil rights. This poses the question: what are civil rights and whom do they apply to? Through the duration of this semester, I have been given several chances to reflect on whom the modern civil rights movement applies to. As this semester comes to an end I have not changed my overall views on civil rights, but rather solidified my definition of them. I believe that civil rights apply to all people of every race, gender, sex, and sexual orientation, and America’s laws should be kept completely separate from religions and faith communities. 1. Who civil rights apply to.

{From Paper #3 The real fight for same-sex marriage is a struggle for achieving equal protection, which was the premise of the modern civil rights movement. The civil rights movement was meant not only to give black people their well-deserved rights that were promised in the constitution, but also to lay the foundation for future social groups to achieve the same level of legal and social equality that was granted to African Americans. Currently, same-sex couples do not have to same level of equality that heterosexual couples have. There are several benefits for married couples that “exclude us [same-sex couples] from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and even consider their constitutional right” (Gay RP 77). The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that, “no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (14th Amendment). This amendment was originally intended for the assimilation of freed slaved into American society. The struggle for same-sex marriage is a group of people who are being denied their constitutional right to equal protection under the law. Civil rights are meant to apply to every person without any form of discrimination. The American society was not willing to accept African American rights at the beginning of the civil rights movement but now, decades later, African American’s have almost entirely become assimilated into a previously white-dominated society. An article explaining the struggle for gay marriage emphasizes this by stating, “Simple discomfort with a proposal is no reasonable basis for not allowing it – how many Southern whites once were . . .” (Gay RP 74). Homosexuals are fighting for same rights that other straight Americans have, just like the African Americans once were when fighting for equality under the law. An Associated Press article also states that, “’To equate a lifestyle choice to racism demeans the work of the entire civil rights movement.’” (Black RP 91). However, equating a lifestyle choice to what happened in the modern civil rights movement is extremely appropriate. There are several people who do no agree that marriage is a civil right. However, in the case of Loving v. Virginia the court declared, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic human rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” (Loving RP 105). This, while being a court case about interracial marriage laws, the same idea applies to civil rights. If marriage is a basic civil right that is “fundamental to our very existence”, then how can a state deny these rights to men and women on the basis of same sex marriage? Also, the court decided that marriage is a “basic human right” so, legally, marriage is considered a civil right and cannot be taken away from anyone, whether gay or straight. Loving v. Virginia was originally intended for the marriage between black and white people, but it can be applied to gay marriage, or any other marriage argument. The courts stated that marriage is a human right; so gay citizens, women, and men of any race should be legally allowed to marry....

Cited: "First Amendment." LII. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
"14th Amendment." LII. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
"It 's Personal." Marriage & Civil Unions ». N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.
KANSTROOM, DANIEL. "On "Waterboarding": Legal Interpretation And The Continuing Struggle For Human Rights." Boston College International & Comparative Law Review 32.2 (2009): 203-221. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.
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