America’s peculiar way of justice unfairly favors whites over blacks

Tuesday’s primary election results proved what I have been harping on for weeks: For the Democratic primary, Kentucky could very well become an important state if Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to be neck-and-neck for delegates.

We Democrats should be gearing up to vote, checking up on our registration and researching candidate platforms in preparation for a decision that could ultimately be made by states like Kentucky. The time is now to prioritize what and who is most important to you as an individual.

For me, the top issues that will swing my vote are the war in Iraq; abortion rights; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights; health care; education; and environmental policies. Among these issues, I feel that GLBT rights are receiving remarkably little (positive) commentary or attention from the mainstream media, but in my opinion, this is the forefront of civil rights movements.

I know that many people balk at the GLBT claim to the legacy of civil rights that includes women’s suffrage and African-American protests. Regardless of whether I or anybody else believe that members of the GLBT community have any claim to recognition under the law as a protected class or that this group deserves to be given any rights at all, the GLBT community is making civil rights claims in courts, legislatures, and classrooms across the nation.

Many public and government institutions are accepting the GLBT claim to civil rights. Our own university is a part of the movement away from criminalization and discrimination of GLBT peoples. Much to the dismay of certain Kentucky legislators, UK has given partner benefits to employees of UK, thus recognizing the legitimacy of such relationships, if not condoning them.

The ultimate goal of arguing for GLBT rights in a way that references past civil rights movements is that it calls into question the legality of restrictions for homosexuals that are not in place for heterosexuals.

If we are to discriminate on the basis of one factor alone, there must be a reason behind those limitations.

For example, the government must establish a legitimate state interest in denying GLBT people’s marital rights.

So far, the only arguments that have been given in favor of state and other discriminations of members of the GLBT community are ideologically or religiously based. Simply put, there is no reason to deny members of the GLBT community the same rights as heterosexuals happy with their gender identity and performance, outside of theories rooted in religion. Last I checked, religious condemnation was not reason enough to justify a discrimination of a group of people. Otherwise, adultery and fornication would still be criminalized.

The time has come to recognize that homosexuality and gender diversity are not a threat to the fabric of our society, despite what fundamentalists may have us think.

Here we are, on the verge of the next significant civil rights movement, and we have the chance to put candidates in office who want to work toward change. Look beyond the narrow scope of the present and consider a candidate who will promote change in the future.