Editorial: Careful what you sign. Petitions aren’t always what they seem
April 29, 2016, 5:30 PM
by John P. Schott
April 14, 2016, 6:55 PM
Recently The Observer published an article about a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to address the issues of sexual orientation and marriage discrimination in the public accommodations of the states. The article did not appear to present a comprehensive view of the issues, and did little more than highlight several examples of perceived discrimination. We did manage to identify a number of important factors in the petition, however.
First of all, the petition focuses on the issue of the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. While gay and lesbian people have long been afforded certain rights, the notion that they should be afforded the same rights as everyone else (by virtue of their sexual identity) is not as accepted. On the contrary, the petition focuses on the claim that “homosexual behavior” is a condition, not a choice. The petition claims that this would result in discrimination and stigmatization of gay citizens.
The petition states, “The right to a good quality education, which is a human right, cannot be denied because of a sexual orientation as the Constitution guarantees an equal quality of education for all who seek it.” This is clearly an incorrect assertion. A public education system is no different from any other system of education. As we have learned in the past, public education is a human right. If we believe that a person is not afforded the same right to an education as everyone else, then we have to look at what that right truly means. A right to an education means that a person is afforded some level of freedom, and there are many types of freedom, but the key component is a person having the right to be educated. This means that the freedom to educate is not limited to someone who can receive a good education, by virtue of their physical or mental characteristics. It also means that we have no choice but to educate everyone.
A second issue is the right to pursue happiness. This is another area of conflict with some gay and