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Letter: Gays should have same basic rights

To the Editor: It’s a path we have traveled before. From Seneca Falls to Birmingham, we as a nation have seen this scenario play out. But still, we run into the same problems facing earlier generations: the hatred, the stubbornness, the fear of change.

Because of this, a group of citizens in the U.S. are still denied civil rights: a group known as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). As a nation, it is time to once again protect the rights of our citizens and proclaim "all men are created equal" regardless of sexual orientation.

For too long, people who like the same sex have been denied the basic rights available to everyone else in society. They have had to hide in fear of who they are because society deemed it unacceptable. This summer, there will be an opportunity to right the wrongs inflicted upon this community. The constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 may be reviewed by the Supreme Court, providing the golden opportunity to lay to rest the debates over gay rights.

Some religions believe it's a sin to love someone of the same gender, but I am unable to understand this. I am a Roman Catholic, go to Mass every Sunday, believe in the Resurrection, but I also listen. I listen to the Gospels and homilies, and hearing the Word of God tell me to love my neighbor as myself made me question how it can possibly be a sin to love someone.

Just pause for a second: Some people are called sinners because they love someone. Not because they hurt someone, not because they stole something, not because they lied, but they committed the act everyone searches for in life. And even if this still offends you, and you interpret the word of whomever you believe in differently than me, there is a beauty in the foundation of the U.S. – the separation of church and state.

This is crucial to the debate over gay rights because anyone who cites religious reasons for denying basic human rights is going against a founding tenant of this nation. Politicians must only be focused on preserving the rights of the people, rights the LGBT community is currently denied.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court will once again legalize civil rights for a group of citizens this summer and create a more equal society.

Stephen O'Neill

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