Love Wins–Unless You’re in Africa

Love and conflict go hand in hand, as close as the BYU couples in Smith’s. Love will eventually break hearts and inspire tears in every college apartment and every country. The typical solution is chocolate and a good rebound. Love is complicated enough without government intervention.

Governments have historically gotten involved on the wrong side of the love issue. By doing so, they’ve created a need for further intervention to fix the problems they caused with this form of institutional discrimination.

This June marks the fifty-year anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that struck down laws against interracial marriage in the United States. In the unanimous decision of the 1967 case, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” Loving needed a long time to take root but it was eventually accepted across the country. The universal acceptance of interracial marriage made way for the next embargo on love to take the stage in the US. Homosexuality was fully decriminalized in 2003—the year Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” topped the charts. Even in 2015—when Justin Bieber made his comeback with the Purpose album—LGBT persons remained legally vulnerable to discrimination. Social change correcting discrimination has been sluggish in the US, but human rights have been at the forefront of the minds of Americans for a long time; for example, violence against LGBT individuals is not tolerated and has not been tolerated in the US for some time.

This is not the case everywhere. In one example of global injustice, discrimination against sexual and gender minorities in Uganda is state-sanctioned. Their violent treatment of these minorities continues in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected without distinction of any kind. These unacceptable distinctions include race, color, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, property, birth or other status. In Uganda, like a woeful number of places, LGBT people are ostracized by their communities and stripped of their livelihoods; they are often incarcerated and subjected to mob violence and police brutality—all for loving people their government tells them they aren’t allowed to love. Injustice persists but change is an achievable goal. With the help of researchers and photojournalists, first hand tales of the detriments of homophobia in central Africa are finally being heard on the international stage.

Is love a human right?

If we fight for each individual’s rights to vaccinations and clean water, then shouldn’t we fight to protect each individual’s rights against violence, brutality and discrimination? What else qualifies as “fundamental to our very existence and survival”? Not only are Ugandan LGBT individuals assaulted and socially isolated, they are also kept from the people who can comfort them and bring them happiness. How can meeting love with violence and hate ever be the right choice?

 

References

Loving v. Virginia

That’s how I survived being killed

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/27/hammond/

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Ellie Lewis

Ellie is a surveyor of human behavior, as manifest by her major in history and interests in politics (obviously), ethics, modern art, and looking through people’s car windows as they drive past. The worldview of this senior from eastern North Carolina oscillates between crushing nihilism and cheerful optimism. Upon graduation, Ellie looks forward to working a job that challenges her mind in a room full of natural light.

Ellie Lewis

Ellie is a surveyor of human behavior, as manifest by her major in history and interests in politics (obviously), ethics, modern art, and looking through people’s car windows as they drive past. The worldview of this senior from eastern North Carolina oscillates between crushing nihilism and cheerful optimism. Upon graduation, Ellie looks forward to working a job that challenges her mind in a room full of natural light.

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