The Gay Debate in Arizona – Why is it a Debate?

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I’m really tired of conservative, heterosexual people thinking my life is up for debate. Or rather, the entirety of the gay population’s life is a topic for discussion.

It’s easy to cater to popular opinion here in the US, due to societal status ambitions, political or otherwise, and stoke the topic of same-sex marriage, but this debate for equality is a debate that should not even be on the table for discussion. It is demoralising that some think that how we live our lives and the boundaries they want to impose around that, is up for a political argument. The LGBT community is reduced to a political discussion and taken away from the reality of mere factual existence.

I hear a lot of people in the news and on political platforms that are quite obviously anti-gay tell us that gay people shouldn’t be given special privilege. What’s special privilege about same-sex couples getting married? If heterosexual people can get married, why is it considered special privilege if someone who identifies as homosexual wants to get married as well? This sort of thinking is problematic and throws a lot of illogical pathologies at the wall. I am deeply troubled by wanting equality being equated with “wanting special privilege”. It’s a subconscious hierarchical sickness that plagues the debate, where we should accept baby steps towards equality out of gratitude, rather than expect full uncompromising change to reflect our humanity.

However, it grows deeper with the laws proposed in places like Arizona and Missouri, where anyone could deny a gay person service or discriminate against them openly because of their religious beliefs. This could mean that you could deny a gay person a seat at your restaurant on the grounds of their homosexuality, stipulate their entitlement to healthcare, and even affect the status of their job. All of these facets of a gay person’s life are seemingly up for debate because policy-makers would rather promote “religious freedom” than equality.

What’s worse is that these debates and forms of legislation are deemed appropriate, as if we, the gay populace of the world, need our lives to be grossly governed to protect conservative, heterosexual people and their sensibilities. They can judge our ideals or our morals, they can debate whether or not we get the same rights as our neighbors and our friends, and they’re all allowed to do this by the state government. “Religious freedom” be damned.

As we know, sexuality is an integral part of our lives. Being LGBT is not a conscious choice, religious beliefs are. They are taught, they are learned. So we have to question why a learned behavior is being favored over a person being who they are?

Policy makers invite these people that express their religious freedoms into the debates as experts, as if they know anything about my life or the life of the gay person they see at work, or that lives on their block, or that got coffee next to them at the coffee shop that morning. These woefully discriminating people who think they have any insight into what it’s like to be held as a second-rate citizen are not only invited, but encouraged to speak up about how allowing same-sex marriage is like allowing an adult to marry a child. And all of this is considered to be okay.

I want to take a stand. Our lives are not up for debate. Our lives and the social freedoms we enjoy are not to be defined by those who express hatred and open-handed discrimination under the hurtful guise of “religious freedoms”. Our lives are fact, they are not part of an argument in the political arena to win or lose. The debate needs to stop.