The situation in the United States towards LGBT representatives was always tense. The U.S. validated same-gender marriages only 5 years ago. In comparison, by that time 20 other countries had already done this, including Portugal, South Africa, Argentina, Spain, and others.
Even legal approval of such marriages did not make the life of LGBT members easier in the U.S. They were still discriminated in many ways. The Supreme Court did not accept them as they were. LGBT representatives wanted to have the same civil rights as others. Finally, they achieved what they desired for so long.
Read also: Obama’s ‘evolution’ about gay rights
June 15, 2020 has become a memorable date for them. The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964. Now its provisions are also applicable towards LGBT members. The act forbids discrimination by specific types::
- by race;
- by skin color;
- by gender;
- by ethnicity.
Neil Gorsuch signed the present decision. Antonin Scalia was the most fervent opponent of sexual minorities, but was overruled by the Supreme Court. The resolution has a couple more reasons to be analyzed.
The first reason includes the long-expected completion of juridical discrimination. This type of discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S. was very widespread. Examples of this discrimination are given below.
- National programs, housing questions, and other public services were unavailable for sexual minorities.
- Participation in social life is sometimes forbidden for LGBT members.
The number of such legal and social examples is countless.
The second reason is that this resolution is now legal in the whole country. Until this time, such a rule against discrimination was legal only through local laws. In other words, if you are a resident of Texas, you could marry a same-sex person; yet, you may be fired from your job. By the law, the company where you work had the rights to do this. You also could not rent an apartment. Now the situation is completely different.
Read also: The new church view of gay marriage
LGBT equality is a serious matter in the U.S.
For example, gay relationships were considered a crime for a long time. The U.S. did not accept such relationships, while other Western democratic countries had different opinions. For example, France legalized homosexuality in 1791.
The standards of the U.S. did not allow LGBT members to work in particular places, for example government authority and military institutions. As for the army, they could be in the service as long as nobody knew their sexual orientation. In this matter, the U.S. completes the list of countries that has changed this.
The U.S. increased the number of countries where same-gender marriages are legal. Even less liberal countries legalized such marriages earlier than the U.S., The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Brazil among them.
Religious aspect in American life
Most people suggest one reason for such a severe attitude in the U.S. towards LGBT people. The attitude and perception of many people towards the LGBT population are based on spiritual viewpoints. Religion is an integral part of American society, and for many people, their politics and cultural life are incomplete without their faith.
Many around the world believe that Americans have the strongest sense of moral absolutism. They honor the church and venerate their holy traditions.This is why their homophobic attitudes are reflected in everything, even jurisprudence.
When prohibiting homosexual relationships became the law, the Court had only religious documentation. It mentioned the Judeo and Christian norms on the matter towards homosexuality.
Read also: States Where Same-sex Marriage is Legal
It is important to mention that these spiritual viewpoints of the U.S. were rather convincing. Other western countries followed their example. Anita Bryant was a famous country-western vocalist. She stated that all mothers have a right to protect their children, especially at work and in school. She thought that this right was given by God to every mother. She was also popular because she characterized gays as pedophiles.
Jerry Falwell encouraged religious homophobia to reach an extremely high level. He wrote that ‘homosexuality is the Devil’s actions towards our families’. With the help of his efforts, LGBT members did not have any defense. In the early 2000s, Evangelists and Catholics united with Mormon representatives. They opposed same-gender marriages. They thought these marriages would eradicate normal ones and cause divorces. Hence, same-gender marriages were forbidden in 31 states.
Still, it became evident that the so-termed ‘religious argument’ was just a pretense. Maybe it was used only to distract from the true cause. Eventually, many religious communities achieved remarkable progress, resulting in LGBT rights.
Religion has always held an important place in the USA. Since colonial times, Americans have paid a lot of attention to faith. This explains why American culture, social life, and viewpoints are steeped in religion. However, the country did not have an official religion from the very beginning. Religion existed only in several states and in specific forms.
America’s religious background has also changed over the past decades. No longer is there complete cohesion between American reality and the church. People are becoming more and more ‘free’ of the church in all states. About 20% of the American population state they have no faith at all. They relate themselves with no religion. They do not belong to any particular faith group. However, they still believe in God.
Certainly, this has happened because of certain world-famous events in the USA. The 9/11 event had a significant impact on the culture of the country as a whole. Such events became part of history, and influenced entirely the attitude of the nation towards the church.
Now LGBT representatives can boast of achieving some results. This can be confirmed by, more or less, equal protection of rights. But the legal proceedings of sexual minorities in the Supreme Court last longer. The cases are reviewed problematically.
The rules of government authority are not always effective. They can restrict or undermine the liberty and rights of sexual minorities. Most of those laws have so-called acts upon the restoration of religious freedom. With these acts, private companies, organizations, and individuals can do whatever they want. In other words, they can break rules if these rules undermine their religious freedom.
Politics towards LGBT
The status of sexual minorities in this issue is much worse. A limited number of political parties supported equal rights for sexual minorities. In general, various political parties have held differing opinions on the subject.
- In 1967 the Britain Labor Party recognized homosexuality as legal in the UK.
- Conservative Party leaders validated same-gender marriages in 2013.
- Democratic Party leaders approved non-traditional sexual relationships in 2012.
In the 80s, sexual minorities were completely ignored by politicians. All attempts to get homosexuality approved were opposed. Civil rights for sexual minorities were not spoken of during that time. Homosexuals were also accused of causing the AIDS crisis.
During the reign of George Herbert Walker Bush, an act expanding gay rights was signed. In one interview George Bush suggested: “If my grandson were gay, he would still remain my grandson. I would just tell him homosexuality is abnormal. I would deter him from acting to protect gays”.
However, the Republican Party platform of 1992 did not support LGBT. Moreover, it insisted on excluding homosexuals from the country’s military service. This was done for purposes of maintaining order and discipline.
In the campaign of 2000, George Bush supported none of the laws on gay rights. He even spoke against same-gender relationships. But, if a particular state supports them, he said he would support the state as well. It is evident that George Bush was either neutral towards gays or opposed them.
The situation changed in 2004. The Republican platform in that year supported a law banning discrimination.
The reign of Barack Obama was more positive for gays. All provisions against gays were removed from the platform. They followed the following principle: “We are against all types of discrimination, including by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, or religion”.
In 1953, Rustin, an open gay, was arrested for 2 months. The reason was sexual contact with another man in the car. Rustin passed away in 1957. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him with a Medal. That year all charges were dismissed.
During the last several years it has become clear that homosexuals are accepted. The court changed its attitude towards them too. Now their cases are accepted, almost like all others. Of course, each case requires deep analysis, but this is a good result.
A lot of homosexuals hold high positions in government. For example, David Glave is the deputy minister of internal security. James T. Abbott is a member of FLRA. Richard Grennell is the US Ambassador in Germany.
Read also: How It Started: The First Gay Pride Parade
A lack of discourse fighting for gay civil rights was always a reason for discrimination. Western European countries and Latin America would discuss basic human rights. They tried to justify their arguments based on these rights.
In the United States, this system did not work out. The notion of equality of human rights failed. However, creating the Human Rights Declaration might have been impossible without Americans.
Now, sexual minorities can rejoice and heave a sigh of relief, as they say. The Supreme Court prohibited any kind of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Even so, the stubborn and torturous process of achieving this should be remembered. Especially if we compare it with the struggle in Western Europe or elsewhere.
The United States is renowned for its freedom and democracy. The overall philosophy of the country is about respect and dignity for all, so It is rather strange that a country with such a reputation has such a conflicted history. Thus, there is no occasion for a feeling of pride.