Gay rights or homosexual rights is the movement for civil rights for gays. The push for gay rights began in America in 1969 when police in New York raided a gay bar (Burns, 2006). The raid initiated a protest and started a grassroots reform movement that pursued the end to legal and social discrimination against homosexuals.
Gay rights movements advocate for equal rights for gay and lesbians, thus it seeks to eradicate sodomy laws that prevent homosexual acts between consenting adults (Lax & Phillips, 2009). The movement also seeks to end discrimination against lesbians and gay men in employment, housing, credit lending, public accommodations, and other aspects of life.
In addition, every individual has a gender identity and orientation. Hence, this shared fact implies that discrimination against individuals from the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation, is an issue that surpasses these individuals and affects the entire society (Polikoff, 2008). Sexual orientation includes sexual desires, practices, identification, and feelings. Therefore, sexual orientation can be towards individuals of the same sex or different sexes (bisexual, heterosexual, or homosexual orientation) (Polikoff, 2008). Gender identity refers to the complex relationship that exists between gender and sex. Hence, it is an individual’s experience of self-expression with regard to social categories of femininity or masculinity.
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This non-discrimination principle has been applied by many international organizations and human rights bodies such as the United Nations, and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender (Polikoff, 2008). Therefore, failure to grant gay people the right to marriage is discriminatory and denies them one of the most fundamental human rights.
Burns, K. (2006). Gay Rights. Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale.
Lax, J. R., & Phillips, J. H. (2009). Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness. American Political Science Review, 367-386.
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