Today, more than ever before, the fundamental issue of homosexuality has attracted great interest from academics and mainstream commentators, with no end in sight to the million-dollar arguments elucidated by both advocates and critics of homosexuality (Satinover, 1996). This essay aims to highlight germane arguments for and against the practice of homosexuality from a civil rights and liberties perspective.
In many countries globally, the convention of civil rights and liberties demands that each individual is entitled certain fundamental and inalienable rights and freedoms under the Constitution, such as the right to life, right to equal treatment in a court of law, freedom of speech and association, right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Armstrong, 2011). This rights should not be denied on the basis of “…the citizen’s sex, race, creed or religious belief” (Lewis, 2009, p. 670).
Advocates of homosexuality argue that authorities go against the very Constitution they seek to protect when the prevent homosexuals the freedom of association, right to liberty, and the pursuit of their own happiness (March, 2010). To the advocates, these are fundamental rights that should not be denied on the basis of the citizen’s sexual orientation as framed in the Supreme law, which is the constitution.
Another stand of advocates suggest the fundamental rights of homosexuals are trumped upon by its critics as they do not have control over their homosexuality just as heterosexuals do not posses control over their heterosexual behavior (Lewis, 2009). Consequently, it becomes difficult to force homosexuals to have control over their own sexuality as it is difficult to force an individual to change his/her ethnic background.
Advocates of homosexuality also argue that the government’s role as prescribed in the Constitution should be to defend the rights of the people rather than denying them the right to be equal citizens based on their sexual orientation.
Still, some advocates questions the legality of critics who rely on traditional beliefs to say that homosexuality is unnatural, suggesting that there is no where in the American Constitution, or any other Constitution for that matter, is the preservation of traditional beliefs cited as a power or intention of the prevailing government (Satinover, 1996).
The practice of homosexuality is opposed equally, with some critics suggesting that individuals engaging in it fail the threshold of getting their fundamental rights because they engage in unnatural acts that cannot naturally produce children through such relationships (Lewis, 2009).
Another strand of critics posit that allowing homosexuality to prosper in society will have negative ramifications for the already struggling institution of marriage, while yet another strand argues that allowing homosexuality will precipitate the emergence of other sociopathic behaviors that may strain the very fabric that holds society together (Satinover, 1996).
In conclusion, it is important to note that the above arguments have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the advocates have more muscle if the evaluation is done from a purely civil rights and liberties perspective. The American Constitution is very clear that each citizen is allowed certain inalienable rights and freedoms and, as such, no law should supersede the Constitution in its quest to grant citizens the right to association and the pursuit of happiness (Armstrong, 2011).
It is indeed questionable whether homosexuality is a result of nature or nurture variables as no research has been conclusive on the issue (Lewis, 2009). Consequently, those who support homosexuality on the basis that it is a innate, just as heterosexuality, should be allowed the benefit of doubt until such a time when objective research studies will prove otherwise.
Additionally, it is wrong for the critics of homosexuality to criticize the practice on the basis of the fact that homosexuals do not procreate. If such criticism holds water, according to Satinover (1996), then sterile, impotent or postmenopausal women should never be allowed to marry under the Constitution.
Lastly, it can be argued that to bar any group of individuals from marrying as they choose merely because they may degrade the already struggling institution of marriage is an astonishing deprivation of fundamental rights as it is wrong to withhold the rights and freedoms of individuals merely because of the mistakes of others (Armstrong, 2011).
Armstrong, D.A. (2011). Stability and change in the freedom house political rights and civil liberties measures. Journal of Peace Research, 48(5), 653-6652.
Lewis, G.B. (2009). Does believing homosexuality is innate increase support for gay rights? Policy Studies Journal, 37 (4), 669-693.
March, A.F. (2010). What lies beyond same sex marriage? Marriage, reproductive, freedom and future persons in liberal public justification. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 27(1), 39-58.
Satinover, J. (1996). Homosexuality and the politics of truth. New York, NY: Hamewith Books.