Looking Left and Right: Morgan Freeman, voice of reason

By Anna Boratyn
Executive Opinion Editor|
A good rule of thumb to follow in terms of acting morally is to do whatever Morgan Freeman tells you to do.  Recently, Freeman recently narrated an ad promoting rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
It follows, according to the law of human decency, that lawmakers should listen to Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice and vote to extend marriage rights to the LGBT community.
Obviously, Morgan Freeman is not the only reason that you should support gay rights.  At this point, I think that it’s just common sense.
I’m not going to spend much time telling you why you should support gay marriage, because there aren’t very many people who are undecided about gay marriage, and frankly, it’s a touch obvious.
LGBT people should be allowed to get married (and have all associated rights) because there isn’t a reason they shouldn’t.  The only answers to the question, “why not?” are religiously based. Religion is just not a good reason to deny rights.
Things are changing for the LGBT community at a relatively fast pace.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has been signed into law, Don’t Ask/ Don’t Tell has been repealed, and job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government has been banned.   But there are still plenty of battles to fight, and old legal infrastructure to replace.
Karen Golinski, who has gone to court after attempting to add her spouse to an U.S government-sponsored health care plan, may have to take her case all the way to the Supreme Court.  To the Supreme Court.  Just to get health care for her wife.  Really.
In other news, the United Nations recently included gender identity” in a resolution condemning gender-based killings. (Hooray!)
It’s a victory, but the fight’s not over.  There was considerable waffling.  Trinidad and Tobago were concerned that the reference to “gender identity” would be a “problem,” Egypt said that it was “alarmed at the attempts to make new rights and new standards,” and a committee by Arab and African countries attempted to drop “sexual identity” and replace it with the vague “discriminatory reasons on any basis.”
I could cope with this verbal wrangling if it didn’t have such serious repercussions.  A study by the United Nations shows that same-sex relationships are criminalized in 76 countries, where consequences include arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. In several countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania), same-sex relationships are punishable by the death penalty.
Aside from being unspeakably horrible, this study is a  reminder that there is more that has to be done.
And as a wise man once voiced-over, “The wind is at our backs, but our journey has just begun.”