LGBT rights opposition refers to various movements or attitudes which oppose the extension of certain rights and privileges to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that are often taken for granted by some heterosexual people. Such opposition can be motivated by religious belief, political ideology or homophobia. The rights and privileges that are opposed tend to be those that do not conform to a heteronormative perspective and include government recognition of rights to civil unions or partnerships, adoption by same-sex couples, access to assisted reproductive technology and access to sex reassignment surgery.
- 1 History
- 2 Public opinion
- 3 Fascist and far-right opposition
- 4 Health
- 5 Religious reasons
- 6 Other reasons
- 7 United States
- 8 United Kingdom
- 9 See also
- 10 References
The first organized gay rights movement arose in the late nineteenth century in Germany. In the 1920s and into the early 1930s, there were thriving gay communities in cities like Berlin; sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld was one of the most notable spokespeople for gay rights at this time. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, one of the party's first acts was to burn down Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, where many prominent Nazis had been treated for sexual problems. Initially tolerant to the homosexuality of Ernst Rohm and his followers, homosexuals were purged from the Nazi Party following the Night of the Long Knives, the Section 175 Laws began to be enforced again, with homosexuals interned in concentration camps by 1938 (see History of gays in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust).
Under National Socialism in Germany, the dismantling of homosexual rights was approached in two ways. By strengthening and re-enforcing existing laws that had fallen into disuse, it was effectively re-criminalised; homosexuality was treated as a medical disorder, but at a social rather individual level intended to reduce the incidence of homosexuality. The treatment was a program of negative eugenics, starting with sterilisation, then a system of working people to death in forced labour camps, and eventually refined by medical scientists to include euthenasia. The driving force was the elimination of degeneracy at various levels - genetic, social, identity and practice, and the elimination of such genetic material in society. Lifton wrote about this in his book The Nazi Doctors:
“The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life” (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens) was published in 1920 and written jointly by two distinguished German professors: the jurist Karl Binding, retired after forty years at the University of Leipzig, and Alfred Hoche, professor of psychiatry at the University of Freiburg. Carefully argued in the numbered-paragraph form of the traditional philosophical treatise, the book included as “unworthy life” not only the incurably ill but large segments of the mentally ill, the feebleminded, and retarded and deformed children. More than that, the authors professionalized and medicalized the entire concept. And they stressed the therapeutic goal of that concept: destroying life unworthy of life is “purely a healing treatment” and a “healing work".
[...] sexology and defense of homosexuality [...] were aspects of “sexual degeneration, a breakdown of the family and loss of all that is decent,” and ultimately the destruction of the German Volk. [...] medicine was to join in the great national healing mission, and the advance image of what Nazi doctors were actually to become: the healer turned killer. [...] Sterilization policies were always associated with the therapeutic and regenerative principles of the biomedical vision: with the “purification of the national body” and the "eradication of morbid hereditary dispositions.” Sterilization was considered part of “negative eugenics” [...]
[...] the T4 program, with its focus on adult chronic patients, involved virtually the entire German psychiatric community and related portions of the general medical community. [introduced in 1939]
[...] brutality was replaced by a policy of impersonal, systematic terror. [...] policies under Eicke grew into what Rudolf Höss, who trained at Dachau for his post as commandant of Auschwitz, later called a “cult of severity” and a “Dachau spirit” according to which all inmates were enemies of the state; [...] During the middle and late 1935 categories of camp inmates were extended to include people considered “habitual criminals”; “antisocial elements”[...]; homosexuals; Jehovah’s Witnesses[...]; and [especially from 1938...] Jews. [...] The legal and social theory of the camps, as articulated in 1936, had a distinctly biological and therapeutic hue. Werner Best, Himmler's legal authority, identified the "political principle of totalitarianism" with the "ideological principle of the organically indivisible national community," and declared that "any attempt to gain recognition for or even to uphold different political ideas will be ruthlessly dealt with, as the symptom of an illness which threatens the healthy unity of the indivisible national organism, regardless of the subjective wishes of its supporters." Thus, the disease-cure imagery was extended to the concentration camps — a still larger reversal of healing and killing".
It is argued that the numbers of homosexuals eliminated was quite low, and confined to Germany itself, based on estimates that of 50,000 homosexuals who came before the courts, between 5,000 and 15,000  ended up in concentration camps. However, many of those who came before the courts were directed (or volunteered) to undergo sterilisation/castration; they would be included with others who, in line with the historic shift in German society (that started with Westphal, and developed through Krafft-Ebing to Magnus Hirschfeld, of homosexuality being seen as having a neurological, endocrinological and/or genetic basis), were treated for homosexuality as a medical rather than criminal matter. Those treated by psychiatrists and thereby included in the T4 project to eliminate people with medical disorders would not be reflected in the rates of those dealt with as criminals.
When the camps were liberated, homosexuals who had survived were returned to prisons to serve out the remainder of their prison sentences, and continued to be subject to the same laws in Germany for another twenty-five years. They were never included in reparations or compensations due to other political prisoners and other groups recognised as suffering in the holocaust. It took another thirty years before the situation began to be acknowledged, and eventually recognised and apologised for. After the Second World War, campaigns for gay rights began to develop., initially in the UK, Europe and North America. Towards the end of the 1960s homosexuality began to be decriminalised and demedicalised in countries such as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, North America and Western Europe, in the context of the Sexual revolution and anti-psychiatry movements. Organized opposition to gay and lesbian rights began in the 1970s,[Citation needed], primarily amongst Christian groups, following the liberalization of attitudes and laws relating to homosexuality in many English-speaking countries and Western Europe.
Societal attitudes towards homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods, as do attitudes toward sexual desire, activity and relationships in general. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality, while others disapprove of such activities. Classical civilisations, such as those focused on the city states of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire tended to regard same-sex relationships in the form of pederasty as normal and unproblematic.
According to The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, "Throughout Western Europe and much of the Americas, there is widespread tolerance towards homosexuality. However, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Israel stand apart from other wealthy nations on this issue; in each of these countries, fewer than half of those surveyed say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Meanwhile, in most of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, there is less tolerance toward homosexuality." 
Fascist and far-right opposition
Fascist political parties have been universal in their opposition to gay rights, despite parties such as the UK's National Front appearing to have had leaders who engaged in homoerotic practices (see Martin Webster). Today, Neo Nazi organizations oppose gay rights, and may advocate life sentences in prison or concentration camps for homosexuals, or even the death penalty (which was instituted by the original Nazis in 1942). The British National Party has shifted its platform from recriminalization to an extension of section 28-style legislation, i.e. making it illegal to portray homosexuality positively in the media. In 1999, the Admiral Duncan pub, a gay bar in London's Soho, was targeted up as part of a terrorist campaign by a National Socialist Movement member, David Copeland; three people were killed, and 70 maimed or injured by a nail bomb detonated in the pub. In the Netherlands, most far-right people support gay rights in every way.
- See also: LGBT issues in medicine
Critics claim that political correctness has led to the association of sex between males and HIV being downplayed.
A systematic review of research in the UK indicates that there appears to be limited evidence available from which to draw general conclusions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health because epidemiological studies have not incorporated sexuality as a factor in data collection. The review found that from the research there is in the UK, there are no differences in terms of major health problems between LGBT people and the general population, although LGBT people's general health appears poorer, but with no specific information on common and major diseases, cancers or long-term health. Research points to issues encountered from an early age, such as LGBT people being targeted for bullying, assault, and discrimination, as contributing significantly to depression, suicide and other mental health issues in adulthood. One researcher looked at the long-term consequences of bullying at schools, and a social researcher has focused on the way LGBT people can experience discriminatory practices in accessing healthcare, and its effects.
Some LGBT activists argue that the experience of growing up LGBT contributes to mental health issues in adulthood, and the barriers to accessing appropriate healthcare as adults contribute towards poorer health; they argue that protection of LGBT rights is necessary to minimise the potential development of health problems and ensure access to healthcare resources. In 2009 Canadian LGBT activists filed a complaint alleging that the health issues of GLB Canadians are being neglected by the government, equating it to a violation of the human rights of LGBT people. In the complaint, the activists highlight a life expectancy 20 years less than average for LGB people, with more cases of cancer and HIV and increased rates of suicide, alcoholism and drug use. Pundits such as writer and editor Terry O'Neill reject the idea that homophobia caused all the additional GLB health problems in Canada, and derides what he calls "the victim-group mentality, the lack of personal responsibility and the all-too-predictable blaming of others for one's problems".
Many forms of Abrahamic religions, including conservative evangelical Christian, Catholic, Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Jewish, and Islam, view gay sex as a sin, and that its practice and acceptance in society weakens moral standards and undermines the family.
Christian views and opposition to LGBT
Christian mainstream opposition
Orthodox, Roman Catholic and conservative Evangelicals within the Anglican and Baptist churches are opposed to people of the same sex having sex together, having committed partnerships, raising children, etc.; they oppose people changing sex as well.
Christian mainstream support
In Europe some Lutheran, Reformed and United churches in Germany (EKD), Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden are supportive of gay rights. In recent years, in the USA, Canada and England, Anglican churches have begun to support gay, lesbian and transgender people; the Episcopal Church in the USA has one openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in a committed long-term partnership, as well as clergy. The Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) bless civil unions but do not "marry" their congregants. Some Methodist churches take a similar position, as well as Accepting Evangelicals.
Christian sectarian support
Liberal Christian churches are often supportive of gay rights. The leadership and many congregations within the United Church of Christ have supported the right for same-sex couples to marry. The Metropolitan Community Church was formed to accommodate LGBT Christians who felt excluded from mainstream churches because of their sexual or gender identities. The Religious Society of Friends is generally supportive of LGBT rights, for example, the British chapter plans to lobby Parliament to allow them to perform same-sex marriages.
- For further information, see: LGBT topics and Islam
Homosexuality is a crime and forbidden in most Islamic countries according to Sharia law. All major Islamic sects disapprove of homosexuality. Islam views same-sex desires as a natural temptation, but views homosexual sexual relations as a transgression of the natural role and aim of sexual activity.
Same-sex intercourse officially carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan and Yemen. It formerly carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban. The legal situation in the United Arab Emirates is unclear. In other nations, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment. In some Muslim-majority nations, such as Turkey, Jordan, Indonesia or Mali, same-sex intercourse is not specifically forbidden by law. In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws. See: Cairo 52.
On the other hand, homosexuality, while not legal, is tolerated to some extent in Lebanon, and has been legal in Turkey for decades. In Oman, the Xanith are men who occupy a role in society which allows them to have sex with men provided they act in the 'female role' and receive the phallus. It is not uncommon to see the one who penetrates as maintaining his heterosexual status, while the one who is penetrated as the 'offender'.
In Saudi Arabia, the maximum punishment for homosexuality is public execution, but the government will use other punishments - e.g., fines, jail time, and whipping - as alternatives, unless it feels that homosexuals are challenging state authority by engaging in LGBT social movements. Iran is perhaps the nation to execute the largest number of its citizens for homosexuality. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the Iranian government has executed more than 4,000 people charged with homosexual acts. In Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, homosexuality went from a capital crime to one that it punished with fines and prison sentence.
Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Muslim nations insist that such laws are necessary to preserve Islamic morality and virtue. Of the nations with a majority of Muslim inhabitants, only Lebanon has an internal effort to legalize homosexuality.
- See also: Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
Some people have cited variations on secular heteronormative natural law argument when opposing the gay rights movement. These people say that the sole function of sex, and the sexual organs is reproduction. Therefore gay relationships that involve sex between two men or two women is "unnatural."
Some argue that information about GLBT persons might not be appropriate for children.
US public opinion
Public opinion has shifted towards increased acceptance of homosexuality and equal rights for gays and lesbians since the late 1970s. According to the Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who think that same-sex relations between consenting adults should be legal increased from 43% in 1977 to 59% in 2007. In 1977 56% of Americans thought that gay people should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. As of 2007 that number has risen to 89%. In 1982 34% thought that homosexuality should be considered an acceptable lifestyle. As of 2007 that number is 54%. In 1997 27% of Americans thought that same-sex marriages should be legally valid. That number is 46% as of 2007. In 1977 13% of Americans thought that sexual orientation is "something a person is born with"; as of 2007 42% thought it is.
Numerous studies have investigated the prevalence of acceptance and disapproval of homosexuality, and have consistently found correlations with various demographic, psychological, and social variables. For example, studies (mainly conducted in the United States) have found that heterosexuals with positive attitudes towards homosexuality are more likely to be female, young, non-religious, politically liberal or moderate, and have close personal contact with openly gay men and lesbians. They are also more likely to have positive attitudes towards other minority groups and are less likely to support traditional gender roles.
United States Armed Forces
The United States Armed Forces' "Don't ask, don't tell" policy requires gay men and lesbians to be discharged from the armed forces if they come out, but does not allow the military to question people about their sexual orientation. Even before it was established, there were advocates for allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. Critics of the current policy point out that neither unit cohesion nor morale were affected when the United Kingdom admitted gay people. A similar comparison has been made to the lack of negative consequences when African-Americans and women were admitted into the military.
Boy Scouts of America
Policy and rationale
- For more details on this topic, see Boy Scouts of America membership controversies#Position on homosexuals.
The Boy Scouts of America excludes gay and bisexual people from its organizations, an exclusion enforced commonly for Scoutmasters but also for scouts in leadership positions. Their rationale is that homosexuality is immoral, and that scouts are expected to have certain moral standards and values, as the Scout Oath and Scout Law requires boys to be "morally straight". The Boy Scout organization does not view their policy as unjustly discriminatory, but instead defends their policy saying that, "Tolerance for diversity of values does not require abdication of one's own values".
In 2000 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale that the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization, and as such can decide its own membership rules. There is still a movement to try and persuade the organization to change its policy or allow local chapters to decide for themselves.
In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed the "Support Our Scouts Act of 2005" to exempt the BSA from anti-discrimination laws, to require the Department of Defense to support scouting Jamborees (thus rendering ineffective a Federal Court injunction prohibiting this as an unconstitutional establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment) and to require state or local governments that receive Community Development Block Grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow BSA to have meetings in their facilities or on their property.
The BSA receives much of its funding and support from religious groups noted for their opposition to the gay rights movement. Some BSA local councils found that United Ways, municipalities, school districts and businesses support and funding was reduced because of their adherence to the BSA's policy on sexual orientation. In order to continue receiving funding, local councils like New Jersey signed nondiscrimination agreements contrary to BSA National Council policy. Other outdoor-focused, youth-based organizations such as the 4-H club and Girl Scouts of the USA do not discriminate against homosexuals.
In most countries where the organization exists gay people are not regarded as incompatible with scout values, and are not discriminated against; this includes the United Kingdom, where scouting was founded by Baden-Powell.
Opposition to LGBT rights in the US
Anita Bryant organized the first major opposition movement to gay rights in America, based on fundamentalist Christian values.[Citation needed] The group used various slogans that played on the fear that gay people were interested in recruiting or molesting children into a life-style. A common slogan of the campaign was "Homosexuals cannot reproduce — so they must recruit." The Bryant campaign was successful in repealing many of the city anti-discrimination laws, and in proposing other citizen initiatives, such as a failed California ballot question designed to ban homosexuals or anyone who endorsed gay rights from being a public school teacher.[Citation needed]
From the late 1970s onwards, Conservative Christian organizations such as The 700 Club, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women For America, the American Family Association and the Christian Coalition built strong lobbying and fundraising organizations to oppose the gay rights movement's goals.
Opposition to LGBT rights in the UK
In 1988, the British Conservative Party, who were in government at the time, enacted Section 28 which banned local authorities (including public schools) from promoting homosexuality or endorsing same-sex marriages. Research on the effect of suppressing information about sexuality awareness in schools showed a correspondence with increases in the level of homophobic bullying by peers, as well as increased incidence in depression and suicide amongst people trying to come to terms with their sexuality. The law was repealed in 2003 by the Labour government.
- Violence against LGBT people
- Culture war
- Gay agenda
- Homophobic propaganda
- Homosexuality and religion
- Homosexual recruitment
- LGBT social movements
- LGBT retirement issues
- Opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States
- Archive for Sexology
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- Lifton' Nazi Doctors p.42
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- Lifton' Nazi Doctors p.153
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- Southern Poverty Law Center
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- http://www.xtra.ca/BinaryContent/pdf/human%20rights%20complaint.pdf Human Rights complaint against the Canadian governement by LGBT activists
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- Gay literature in schools
- The Gallup Poll | Tolerance for Gay Rights at High-Water Mark | May 27, 2007
- Studies finding that heterosexual men usually exhibit more hostile attitudes toward gay men and lesbians than do heterosexual women:
- Herek, G. M. (1994). Assessing heterosexuals’ attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. In "B. Greene and G.M. Herek (Eds.) Psychological perspectives on lesbian and gay issues: Vol. 1 Lesbian and gay psychology: Theory, research, and clinical applications." Thousands Oaks, Ca: Sage.
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- Study: Military gays don't undermine unit
- Out In Force | Sexual Orientation and the Military
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