By John Eppich
Welcome back to the dark ages. After making so much progress in the past decade, I am completely and utterly in shock by the most recent news to hit the LGBTQ+ community. The United States’ United Nations ambassador has recently voted not to condemn countries that enforce the death penalty on homosexuals and those who commit homosexual acts just two years after the U.S. finally allowed same sex marriage.
The U.S. joined 13 countries in voting not to condemn the killings of LGBT people. Even Russia — a country that is known for its homophobic police — did not vote for this bill. Iraq, Egypt, and most of these countries have laws that either imprison homosexuals or put them to death. In countries like Japan and China, no laws are in place for the imprisonment of homosexuals, but they are still behind in legalizing gay marriage and removing the social taboos of the LGBT community.
The United States legalized marriage in 2015 nationwide. All 50 states and D.C. have allowed gay marriages to take place. For many, this was the biggest win of them all. Even if there were homophobic people in the world, they could not take away the community’s right to be who they are. But sadly, just two years later, the U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has said with her vote that it is okay to put gay people to death.
To me, LGBT rights have always been human rights. I may be against the death penalty in general, but to kill someone based on a personal characteristic and something that cannot be changed is worse than killing actual criminals on death row. This vote was cast in poor taste and should be looked down upon. Haley made this vote without thinking to herself that the majority of the U.S. supports gay rights. It seems that she forgot that her viewpoints are not what the U.S. populace sees.
For those saying she has a right to her own opinion, yes, she has every right to hold her outdated opinions. Freedom of speech does mean freedom to think however you wish, no matter how backwards it may seem. That being said, I have a right to then criticize her viewpoint, as does everyone else who sees what she did as completely backwards. On top of that, an ambassador is supposed to be the voice of the people they represent. This vote does not come close to how I feel, nor does it come close to how many others in this country feel.
Killing gay people just because they make you uncomfortable is not an excuse. Using religion to dictate laws and the morals of a country — which states in its constitution that there will be no state sponsored religion — is also no excuse. You have every right to hold your opinion, but I have a right to debunk that opinion with my freedom of speech, too. As soon as you break our constitutional rights to exist or cause cruel and unusual punishments for something that cannot be changed about a person, you should reevaluate yourself and what your opinion entails. If you do not want gay marriage so badly, don’t get gay married.