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Equal Rights Are Not “Special Rights”


Via Sullivan — who notes that on the odious anti-civil rights bill the National Review is now to the right of the Kansas Republican Party — one of the moldiest of conservative canards:

Laws that create special privileges [sic] based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech [sic] and the free exercise of religion [sic].

Over to you, Justice Harlan:

My brethren say that, when a man has emerged from slavery, and by the aid of beneficent legislation has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes the rank of a mere citizen, and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws, and when his rights as a citizen or a man are to be protected in the ordinary modes by which other men’s rights are protected. It is, I submit, scarcely just to say that the colored race has been the special favorite of the laws. The statute of 1875, now adjudged to be unconstitutional, is for the benefit of citizens of every race and color. What the nation, through Congress, has sought to accomplish in reference to that race is what had already been done in every State of the Union for the white race — to secure and protect rights belonging to them as freemen and citizens, nothing more.

The argument that securing basic rights non-oppressed classes can take for granted constitutes “special rights” hasn’t improved in the past 130 years.

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