Silver Chips Online

At last, inclusion

By Julia Wynn, Online Connections and Food Editor
November 10, 2009
Sometimes being tricky is the only way to get things accomplished. Recently, Congress used this approach by attaching a key amendment for the gay rights movement to a piece of essential legislation that tightened military spending. The new measure expands hate crime laws, prohibiting violence based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability. On Oct. 28, President Obama signed the legislation with a full heart, noting that all people should have the right to "live and love as we see fit," according to an article in the Washington Post.

Protesters have been active in garnering support for gay rights.<i>Picture courtesy of ABC News.</i>
Protesters have been active in garnering support for gay rights.Picture courtesy of ABC News.
With a backdrop of supporters who are increasingly discouraged by Obama’s empty promises, this concrete action will bode well for the administration. Gay rights supporters have waited years for this moment. When Congress attempted to pass a similar measure under former President George W. Bush, the legislation was immediately shot down. Obama, however, was in support of the bill from the beginning. Although the socially conservative Republican legislators were the hurdle this time, a good-naturedly devious move on the part of the Democrats fixed that.

The instances of tragic, brutal violence against people of different sexual orientations are all too many. However, there are additional cases of discriminatory emotional abuse that Obama hopes to put to a stop. It is time for the more than 40 year-old hate crime law, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion and natural origin, to be updated to protect all discriminated groups. No one group should be excluded.

At the last minute, Republicans fought to loosen the limits on religious and other types of speech, but a significant battle has still been won. Now the administration needs to recognize the universal right to marriage.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9633