Gay Rights Argument Paper

998 words | 4 page(s)

The subject of gay rights is one of the most important and controversial issues which contemporary politicians find themselves faced with. Many people argue that gay people should be afforded the same legal and civil rights as those who are heterosexual and that this should be particularly manifested in the universal recognition of gay marriage and legal securities in terms of employment discrimination. People argue that gay people should able to adopt children with the same ease that other people may and that there should be active laws in place which seek serve to punish anyone, whether an employer, an assaulter or simply a person on the street who actively discriminates against a person because of their sexuality. This paper does not seek to disagree with many of these ideas, and certainly not with the spirit with which they are made. However, it is the case that we already live in a largely equal society and that an increase in law and legal recognition is not the right approach to take if one wishes to ensure harmony amongst a large group of diverse people. These two factors combined mean that there should not be any more focus on gay rights and that suggested legal reforms and other methods of ensuring them should not be pursued.

Arguably the most important aspect of American society is the belief in the freedom of the individual. This freedom is held to be sovereign in the economic, the public and the private sphere and many people argue that in order to make sure that gay people have the same freedoms as other people it is necessary to ensure laws exist which protect their rights. The central aim of the mainstream gay rights movement is to ensure that such laws may come to pass in order to protect those who are gay in society.

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However, whereas it is undoubtedly the case that gay people have suffered discrimination in America society in the past it is also the case that social cohesion is rarely achieved through the instantiation of new laws which would seek to restrict peoples’ freedom of expression and their economic freedom. An example of such a law would be one which stated that an openly gay employee could sue their boss if they were sacked and that the employee could insist that this sacking was a result of prejudice on the behalf the boss, rather than the result of an economic factor or other business decision. On the surface this may seem like a good idea, however it is one which would fundamentally curtail the economic freedom of businesses and institutions. Not only is this freedom essential for understanding the very fabric of American life, but it is also something which has been argued to provide the strongest possible guarantee of personal security and social cohesion. One of the twentieth centuries most important economists, Milton Friedman, wrote that not only is the free market system the best way to achieve economic growth but also that;

‘The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.’ (2002. 56).

Those who campaign for gay rights and, by doing so, seek legal protection for gay people in public sphere actively reduce the amount of freedom available for the growth of society. They also perform a fundamental contradiction as, rather than increasing security, they remove the most important thing for guaranteeing security: the prevalence of individual freedom of choice.

Not only are gay rights a bad idea in relation to employment and the public sphere but they can also be seen to be unnecessary in relation to the family. One of the most important spheres of gay rights activism involves the desire to pursue marriage and adoption. Those who campaign for these rights insist that it is a fundamental human right for people to marry under the law if they wish to and also that it is an equal right for a couple, regardless of their gender or sexuality to be able to raise children and a family. I do not disagree with this, however it is simply the case that in many areas of society these rights already exists and there is little need to campaign for them any longer. Adoption by gay people is already possible in several states as is gay marriage. While gay rights campaigners may argue that these laws should be universal across America it is vital to remember that, when states may not posses the same laws with regard to adoption and equality, this is likely to be because the citizens of these States do not in fact desire these laws and that they find them unacceptable. If democracy is to mean anything at all, then it is essential that the laws which exist reflect the views of those who live under them. As such, it is not reasonable to campaign for the universal instantiation of gay rights when it is likely that this will go against many people’s actual views.

In conclusion, this paper has argued against campaigning for gay rights. It has argued this for primarily legal reasons. Campaigners almost universally insist on laws which protect economic and public rights, however these laws diminish economic freedom and, in doing so, remove the best guarantee of security which society has available to it. With regard to rights applying to the home, marriage and family, this paper has argued that in several places these rights already exist and that where they do not then this should be seen as a reflection of dominant attitudes that cannot reasonably be overruled without contradicting democratic principles.

  • Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Print.

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