With rights come significant responsibilities

I am writing in response to Dug Ward’s letter (Herald, June 7).

When women fought for the right to vote, many white men – including President Woodrow Wilson – replied: “Women shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about politics.”

When black people demanded equality under the law, and an end to Jim Crow, many white people replied: “They should know their place.”

Now, when gay couples demand the civil rights that other married couples enjoy, Ward replies: “Everyday society is forced to accept a gay lifestyle whether we like it or not.”

The rights of personal freedom guaranteed in our Constitution do not include the right to deprive others of their civil liberties.

Fortunately, President Obama, a constitutional scholar, understands and accepts this.

Of course, Vi McCoy has the right to express her opinion (Letters, Herald, May 25). But gay equality is not a freedom of speech issue; it’s a civil-rights issue.

Like the long, hard fight for civil equality made by women and black people before them, the fight for gay equality will continue and eventually triumph.

Ward has the freedom and right “to ask the gay population to stop insisting that he does not want to accept their lifestyle and wants,” and complain that “modern society is bombarded with the rants of gay marriage.”

But he also has the responsibility to refrain from absurd lies. The gay community doesn’t “condemn God and a Christian lifestyle.” Gays don’t want to “eliminate the word ‘God’ and ban the Pledge of Allegiance before class.”

Ward’s comments only show we still have a long way to go to establish tolerance and justice for all Americans. But with or without Ward’s approval, this goal will be reached, and soon. In the meantime, Ward would do well to heed Sharon Krinsky’s letter (Herald, June 1):

Live and let live.

Mary Benson