Originally Posted by listopencil
It is important to note the difference between "civil rights" and "civil liberties." The legal area known as "civil rights" has traditionally revolved around the basic right to be free from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics (race, gender, disability, etc.) in settings such as employment and housing. "Civil liberties" concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed
-- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers. Civil liberties include:
- Freedom of speech
- The right to privacy
- The right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home
- The right to a fair court trial
- The right to marry
- The right to vote
That's not the issue of gay marriage. Gay people already have the right to marry just like straight people can, as patteeu would no doubt tell you. They just aren't allowed to marry someone of their gender, at least by federal law and the laws of most states. That's where unequal treatment comes in.
The issue of gay marriage is that gay people should be protected, federally or otherwise, to marry people of their gender.
That's no different than interracial marriage, which is not a civil liberties argument (since black people could marry other black people, back when this was an issue), but a civil rights argument.