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The issue of civil rights has and will continue to resurface as our society evolves and various “sub-cultures” forge to the forefront. In the 1960s it was black Americans fighting for racial equality; and, now it’s the gay and lesbian community pressuring for the right to marry. The two movements have been compared to one another as bouts for basic human liberties, but are sexuality and race really one in the same?

Sexual preference is contrived from a combination of genetics and carnal desires. There are studies that have shown predispositions to particular emotions and actions resulting from DNA makeup. Several scientific studies have also revealed the monumental role that environmental elements play in human development. Race, on the other hand, is solely based on DNA composition. Going to the tanning bed can make your skin darker, but it won’t make you black. Being adopted by an Asian family and embracing their traditions is wonderful, but it doesn’t make you Asian. So, while race is unchanging, sexuality is (at least somewhat) pliable.

Paralleling the Black Civil Rights Movement with the push for gay marriage is like comparing apples to oranges (or Kanye West to Michael Jackson). To a degree, the likening is almost offensive. Black skin is black skin, period. For centuries, blacks in this country were considered less than human merely due to the hue of their skin. Race and skin color are decided before birth and something over which no human being has control. Yet, black Americans were enslaved, dehumanized and disenfranchised for it. Unlike sexual preference, race cannot be hidden in the closet or (in most cases) enjoy a “double-life.” While, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual preference, all persons are entitled to basic civil liberties, discrimination based on race is not equivalent to that imposed on the decision to act out on sexual preferences.

The issue of gay marriage is more closely related to that of religious freedom and expression, both suppressed by the blanket of patchwork Christianity that covers this country. Hence, maybe the real question to be pondered is (since there is clearly a connection between church and state) whether or not it is fair to inflict biblically-based limitations on loving, homosexual couples while heterosexual couples are permitted to easily marry and divorce as many times as they please. If we are going to be so “Christian” about marriage, there should be a set of criteria that must be met to divorce, right?

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