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July 23, 2013

Letter: Some citizens' rights need more protection

To the editor:

Gerald Mahieu, in his letter answering question on gay rights organizing, (the Times, Saturday, July 20), raised a great point in the Gloucester Daily Times.

“My point, which you seemed to have missed, was that I have never met a single homosexual that did not have the same God-given rights as I enjoy,” he wrote. “I still do not understand, why they’re a protected class of people.”

Most of our recognized legal rights are enforced, but not all of them. Neither are they all equally enforced. Too few people read the Constitution and fewer read the Amendments.

Most do not realize that one Amendment recognizes all our rights, even as it acknowledges that some rights are curtailed and some actions are forbidden completely. There is a rich depth to this amendment with all its implications but there are problems.

Its 21-word statement is too deep for some sitting Justices to comprehend but almost anyone with a Ninth Grade education can understand it. Both the First, explicitly, and Ninth Amendment, implicitly, say you have the right to voice your opinion.

An insidious problem is that some people need to have concepts made explicit. The 14th cites many rights and the equal protection clause is interesting at the moment. The Ninth is forever murky, but the foundation is there: No one is legally permitted to discriminate against you on arbitrary grounds. If that is done because you belong to a group that is attacked, then your rights have been violated for being a member of that group.

Mr. Mahieu, it seems that no one has ever physically attacked you, made you feel unwelcome on a sidewalk, in a store, for trying to get a loan, or moving into a nicer neighborhood because you are a member of a particular group. That is not true for everyone.

You mention “god given rights” but many refuse to accept legally acknowledged rights and happily deny any “god given rights” for ‘them.’

That is why we have “protected minorities” — and why we must make it painfully obvious that such misconduct will not be tolerated.

ARTHUR THOMAS

Gloucester

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