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Selma to San Francisco? Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue

Shelby Steele

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Saturday, March 20, 2004

It is always both a little flattering and more than a little annoying to blacks when other groups glibly invoke the civil rights movement and all its iconic imagery to justify their agendas for social change. I will never forget, nor forgive, the feminist rallying cry of the early '70s: "Woman as nigger." Here upper-middle-class white women--out of what must have been an impenetrable conviction in their own innocence--made an entire race into a metaphor for wretchedness in order to steal its thunder.

And now gay marriage is everywhere being defined as a civil rights issue. In San Francisco, gay couples on the steps of city hall cast themselves as victims of bigotry who must now be given the "right" to legally marry in the name of "equality" and "social justice." In the media, these couples have been likened to the early civil rights heroes whose bravery against police dogs and water hoses pushed America into becoming a better country...

So, dressing gay marriage in a suit of civil rights has become the standard way of selling it to the broader public. Here is an extremely awkward issue having to do with the compatibility of homosexuality and the institution of marriage. But once this issue is buttoned into a suit of civil rights, neither homosexuality nor marriage need be discussed...

But gay marriage is simply not a civil rights issue. It is not a struggle for freedom. It is a struggle of already free people for complete social acceptance and the sense of normalcy that follows thereof--a struggle for the eradication of the homosexual stigma...

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.

Posted: 3/31/04



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