Gay Rights Are Civil Rights

Civil Rights

Mothers and Fathers Matter have every right to advocate a ‘no’ to same-sex marriage, but let’s not forget that they are actually fighting against civil rights, says David Wilkins.


In a recent Twitter exchange between myself and Evert Bopp of the Mothers and Fathers Matter group, I likened the campaign for marriage equality in the upcoming referendum to the civil rights movement in the US during the 1960s and 70’s. Mr. Bopp had previously tweeted a meme with the tag line: “If you could stop comparing Gay civil rights to Black civil rights, that would be great.”

Defending his tweet Mr Bopp replied to me, saying: “Homosexuals aren’t a separate race”. He has also said in an article on his blog ‘Blitzkreig Bopp’, entitled ‘Equality. But not for all’, that a tiny percentage of the population (gay people) should not spoil life for the rest. This got me interested in doing a little research.

I found a number of articles from experts in the field of anthropology that are best encapsulated in a paper published by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, which in a nutshell says: “Pure races do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence they existed in the past.” Furthermore UNESCO debunked the concept of ‘race’ as long ago as the 1950’s.

What anthropologists understand the modern concept of race to mean is based on physiological differences between human beings, largely based over extended periods of time. These were based on genetic differences that adapted people of different skin colour to levels of solar radiation, which helped them survive depending on where they lived on the planet.

Which brings us back to Mr. Bopp’s meme that asked we stop comparing black civil rights to gay civil rights because, he argues, they’re not comparable. Ultimately the research suggesting that race, as a separate identifiable human genome, is not definable. So the civil rights movement in 1960’s America was not, and should never have been about skin colour. And today, it is not and should never be about sexual orientation. Marriage equality, is simply about equality. Human equality.

The obvious thing, of course, even assuming the civil rights movement in the 1960’s was based on such an ill-defined concept as race, is that the No campaign in the person of Evert Bopp, his wife Kate Bopp, and Mothers and Fathers Matter are trying to dodge a simple truth. They’re either scared of gay people or they just don’t like gay people. Strip away their spurious arguments around the whole issue of children, and surrogacy in particular, and it’s hard to see another reasonable explanation.

I don’t think it’s about them not liking us. I suspect Mr and Mrs Bopp know, and like, plenty of gay people. Indeed one of Mothers and Fathers Matter spokespeople is Keith Mills, an openly gay Eurovision blogger. Instead I suspect their opposition is based on a fear of change. I think they are frightened of allowing gay people in this country equal access to civil marriage, because they think it will somehow change the status quo and cause a cataclysmic shift in how society functions. But there is no verifiable evidence to support this fear.

Marriage equality is available in dozens of countries, territories and states around the world. It’s been the norm for some societies for over two decades. They sky hasn’t fallen down, the earth hasn’t stopped turning, and gay parents everywhere rear their kids, as do straight people, as best they can – protecting them, loving them, worrying about their futures, and hoping that they live long and fruitful lives; that they will be happy.

I respect Mothers and Fathers Matter’s right to campaign against the referendum, and will defend to the death their right to do so. But gay rights are civil rights; human civil rights.




© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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