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LETTER OF THE DAY - Gays want equal rights, not special rights

Published:Thursday | August 14, 2014 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Many people who argue against protecting LGBT basic civil rights are saying that LGBTs are seeking 'special' rights. This is untrue, but it's rhetorically powerful and sounds convincing. Why do people favour restrictions on LGBTs, which they would never accept for themselves?

The only 'special' right LGBTs are seeking is to be fully protected by the Constitution. In too many places, gays have no legal protection from being denied a job, a promotion or housing merely because they are gay. Some go so far as to assert a 'religious right' to refuse to provide the same public and social right to LGBTs as they do to heterosexuals.

It is a profound insult to tell people that their desire to enjoy the same basic rights as other Jamaicans is really a desire to have 'special' rights. It's possible that some Jamaican do consider housing, jobs, and medical care to be 'unusual demands' - at least, when it comes to LGBT.

Homosexuals are not requesting special rights, but merely to be respected as fellow human beings. The people who say that gays want 'special' or 'extra' rights obviously haven't thought it through. They want equal rights not 'special' rights. We all should have the same rights. This whole way of breaking everyone into groups and granting rights based upon those groups and then criticise one while glorifying another is nonsense. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

FREEDOM FROM UNFAIR TREATMENT

As Jamaican citizens who pay taxes, homosexuals should be fully protected by the Constitution and granted all rights as other Jamaican citizens. Therefore, homosexuals should be granted special 'rights' - the personal liberties that belong to an individual, owing to his or her status as a citizen of Jamaica; that is freedom of speech, due process of law, equal protection of the laws and protection from unlawful discrimination, thus to be free from unfair treatment or 'discrimination'. If that's what you interpret as 'special' rights, you're wrong, it's called civil rights! After all, they are human, and deserve that simple basic civil rights, simply because they were born here and are Jamaican.

KASHANE TAYLOR

kashanetaylor@ymail.com

Kingston