ASM and gay rights


The Badger Herald has a point. Maybe it would be more appropriate for ASM to stay out of national affairs. And if ASM were to fully fund the travel expenses for students to participate in every worthy cause in D.C. we’d probably have to start paying six figure tuition bills.

However, the Herald editorial was, in all frankness, disturbing. The ed board invoked a series of ideological arguments against ASM’s expression of support in favor of the gay rights march in Washington.

It is easy to forget, as students at the University of Wisconsin, that what seems politically black-and-white to student leaders has many shades of gray for the average student. And while our students and broader culture mull over an issue as agonizingly complex as same-sex marriage — an issue that immediately implicates religion, culture, moral conceptions and constitutional interpretation — the members of Student Council have an ethical responsibility to withhold public statement.

Agonizingly complex? How? The agony in the issue come from cultural reluctance to accept homosexuality, not from an extraordinarily difficult legal decision. The Herald seems to imply that gay marriage is inherently dubious constitutionally, as if a rational interpretation of the U.S. Constitution could somehow lead to the conclusion that gay marriage is unconstitutional. That is only the case in Wisconsin, which the march in Washington has nothing to do with.

It is bad enough that a conservative student could easily get the impression that our university administration has formally endorsed the full gamut of same-sex rights proposed by activists, and that they are expected to follow suit.

Is it? What’s worse is the impression some students may get that the largest paper on campus is passing judgement on civil rights issues based on the cultural and religious views of members of the editorial board. Nobody who believes in the secular tradition of American government would invoke “religion” in the discussion of a civil rights matter.

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2 Responses to “ASM and gay rights”

  1. Emily Says:

    I’m just baffled as to why “getting the impression that our university administration has formally endorsed the full gamut of same-sex rights” would be such a bad thing. Or why we should expect anything less from the university…or the state, for that matter.

    This really ought not be a controversial issue. I know it comes off as naive to say so, but seriously, we’re talking about fundamental rights here. It’s not rocket science.

  2. Patrick Says:

    While I definitely agreed with you at first, Jack, a little bit closer look at the actual list of demands of the march made me rethink things a bit. The list of demands and the calling for a single federal solution to all of them definitely justifies the Ed Boards skepticism.

    “Our One Single Demand:

    Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. We will accept no less and will work until it is achieved. Equality Across America exists to support grassroots organizing in all 435 Congressional Districts to achieve full equality.

    We are guaranteed equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Free and equal people do not bargain for or prioritize our rights. Full equality necessarily includes all members of the LGBT community and encompasses, but is not limited to:

    * The right to work our jobs and go to school free of harassment and discrimination.
    * The right to safety in our daily lives, and protection from hate crimes.
    * The right to equitable healthcare, and the right to donate blood.
    * The right to equitable immigration policies.
    * The right to marry.
    * The right to serve in the military openly.

    Many bills currently exist to address some of these issues, but we do not support a piecemeal strategy. We seek one federal solution to full equality.”

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