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Dehumanising any group creates inequality

Fighting for others: adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will make our community more equal

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It says all people are free and equal in dignity and rights, and all people have the right to be treated equally by law.

My profound concern about the decision to reverse marriage equality comes from a personal belief in creating laws and systems that honour the Universal Declaration.

Putting discriminatory legislation in place will not only cause financial harm to all members of our community, but it diminishes all of us.

Why? When we create laws that grant some more rights than others, none of us can fully celebrate ourselves as free and equal in dignity and rights.

As Nelson Mandela said: “To be free not only means casting off one’s own chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedoms of others.”

This includes putting laws in place that reflect Article 16 of the Universal Declaration, which says all adults have the right to marry and found a family.

Creating a legal framework, where we enjoy the same rights as others, creates a more respectful and humane society.

The Christian faith enunciates the principle that all people are made in the image and likeness of God. This definition includes all persons regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and persons who are inter-sex.

Nature shows us there is immense variety and beauty in all members of the human family. I hope history will define only those who oppose marriage equality as not understanding this.

Name-calling and engaging in dehumanising language creates anger, hatred, the desire for revenge and separation. Dehumanising any group of persons for any reason creates inequality, which goes against everything the Universal Declaration calls for.

What we need to do now is open our hearts even more to each other. To lean in and engage, rather than separate and engage in labelling or name-calling.

For these reasons, I firmly say those persons who have been involved in reversing marriage equality have the right to be treated as free and equal in dignity and rights.

I do not want to feel sorry for the LGBTQ community, as I believe that would demean and diminish their importance as equally divine, perfect and sacred members of the human family. I am intensely saddened by this decision, but I refuse to see them as anything but free and equal in dignity and rights, with the right to the same treatment by our laws as all other persons.

In some way shape or form, some good will come from this. I hope it won’t take long. I want to see us coming together as a community with an even greater resolve to create a world where all people know they are valued by our laws as equal members of the human family.

I hope more people will realise adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created almost 80 years ago, will make our community more equal, benevolent, kind, generous and accepting of each other.

For me, it is another opportunity to hold a safe space to allow people who have made this decision to make a different decision; one that supports Article 16 of the Universal Declaration. It is also an opportunity to not judge if they do not do this.

To continue to hold the vision for a world where:

• Sexual orientation, gender identity or being inter-sex in individuals and groups does not cause the person/group, their parents, family members or friends any untoward concerns or worries about how they live their lives

• All people know they are free and equal in dignity and rights, and are subject to the same laws as all other people

Monica Jones is a former attorney, and modern-day artist and writer, who has sold her art through private sales from her home studio in Pembroke for the past several years. She started her personal writing in 2010 and has published a newsletter, blog and regular Facebook dialogue, with the goal of creating a more peaceful and humane world