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A dangerous equivocation

| Sunday, March 2, 2014

I would first like to preface this letter by saying that I have no intention to rule on the legitimacy or morality of homosexuality or gay rights.

After having read several articles both in this newspaper and others, I have found a glaring issue with the method of argument. In light of this, I would like to call attention to a rather blatant logical fallacy that seems to constantly arise in the discussion of gay rights or the gay rights movement. Particularly, there is a fallacious equivocation of the civil rights movement of the 1870s that aimed to afford African Americans equality under law and the civil rights movement that is currently raging, which seeks to confer homosexuals certain rights.

The association seems quite fine at first glance. People should be given the same rights and same protections under the law — the intentions of each movement. The problem lies not with the intention, but the execution.

The civil rights movement of the 1870s is radically different from today’s homosexual rights movement in that the former provided for the emancipation of those who were not being treated as humans. There is a problem with treating people as property, and this movement turned our attention towards it.

The homosexual movement, though, is not even remotely the same. I think few, and probably extremely ill-informed people, argue that homosexuals are not people, and probably wouldn’t suggest them to be property. The logic is evidently flawed to evoke the name of the civil rights movement as the same basis for the homosexual movement. Homosexuals are people and ought to be guaranteed rights that are inherent to humanity.

Therefore, the question is not “Are homosexuals people?” but “What rights are guaranteed?” I can understand why many would want to associate these civil rights movements together, since slavery and objectification have long since been condemned. But, doing so is quite simply manipulative; the subject matter is categorically different. There is an inherent difference between rights afforded by humanity and the rights that the homosexual movement is calling for.

Don’t associate these two movements to draw support simply because people can commonly flock to the idea of emancipation. There cannot be false equivocation simply to progress the movement that is founded on critically different bases. The expansion of what rights constitute humanity and the conferral of those agreed to be inherent are not the same and ought not to be associated.

Jonathan Baker
Fisher Hall
Feb. 26

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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