YOUNG VOICES: U.S. headed in right direction on LGBT rights

2013-10-14T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: U.S. headed in right direction on LGBT rightsBy Brianna Howerton nwitimes.com
October 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The teenage generation is usually generalized as more liberal, or just more accepting, than the preceding generations.

Gay rights are on the forefront of American politics and permeate other barriers, especially religion. The Catholic Church is taking on a healthier view of homosexuality under Pope Francis I, and this could aid in alleviating some religious intolerance of gays, making it easier to accomplish equal rights for all Americans.

The past decade has opened great doors for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Many more people are open to the ideas of equal marriage rights.

While it is important to applaud the progress that has been made in America, it is also necessary to see the disregard for human rights in places such as Russia, where anti-gay laws have been passed that allow the government to physically harm those suspected of being involved in “nontraditional” sexual activity or orientation.

Although it is usually easy to remove religion from politics, the issue of homosexuality is still one of passionate debate and oftentimes resistance, in the Catholic Church. Many Christians grow up learning that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes God.

For the past 35 years under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, Catholics have heard very conservative, classic views of homosexuality. However, Francis made remarkable statements and is shifting the focus of the Church.

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’," the pope said in a July 28 statement on gay priests. "We must always consider the person … If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

A change in perspective might prove to be very healthy for the Catholic Church and catalytic in the LGBT civil rights movement. Comments of neutral acceptance from the very leader of the church could change the hearts of many people who were previously hard set against gay marriage because of religious reasons.

Most reasons against LGBT rights in America are based upon religious doctrine. It is important to remember that American law has no jurisdiction over religion, so religion in America should not have jurisdiction over law.

Some argue religious freedom would be compromised by forcing people to recognize the marriage of those of the same sex; however, two individuals being married really affects no one else other than those two people. What is most important is the right of an American to liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the matter of gay marriage.

The U.S. is headed in the right direction, but the LGBT civil rights movement is not nearly over.

Brianna Howerton, of Hobart, is a junior at Andrean High School. The opinons are the writer's.

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