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Public Agenda Issue Guide on Gay Rights

For much of American history, indeed, for much of world history, homosexuality has been a taboo subject. Often, it has been considered a crime in and of itself. Yet today, millions of gay and lesbian Americans are not only open about their sexuality, they are campaigning for new laws which they say would grant them the same rights accorded to heterosexuals, including the right to marry. Same-sex marriage, now legal in five states and the District of Columbia, as well as seven nations around the world, places gay and lesbian relationships on a legal par with traditional families for the first time in Western history.

Public Agenda LogoPublic Agenda offers an issue guide on Gay Rights at www.publicagenda.org/citizen/issueguides/gay-rights. The guide consists of an overview of the topic, interesting graphs that outline facts and data on the topic, data about the public view on the issue, and 3 choices citizens can use to discuss the issue.  The choice titles are:

  • Protect and extend equal rights of all our citizens
  • Let states and communities choose solutions that work for them
  • Support and protect traditional institutions and values

Note that in 2004, Public Agenda published an issue guide called “Gay Rights: All the Way to the Altar?” which is no longer available for download.

Here is our old description of that guide, for your reference:

In the next few years, politicians will have to decide whether gays and lesbians should have the right to marry, adopt children, or serve in the military, and whether they should be protected from hate crimes or workplace discrimination. Your vote can decide how far the country will go ? or where it will refuse to go. Consider the alternatives. Decide what you think is best. And let your vote influence what they decide. This choicework guide about same-sex marriage presents three approaches: (1) Extend equal rights to all our citizens, including gay people; (2) Let states and communities choose their own solutions; (3) Protect traditional institutions and values. Each approach is accompanied by arguments for and against the approach.

The guide also includes a section titled Status Report: Where are we Now? and a listing of additional resources.

In addition to the downloadable issue guide, there was a link to “create your own choicework” that allowed users to modify a framework of the issue by selecting from a list of actions under three broad approaches, or adding other actions.

Other issue guides in Public Agenda’s First Choice 2004 program included: Terrorism, Health Care, Race and Affirmative Action, Paying for College, The Environment, Jobs and the Economy, Taxes and the Deficit, and Immigration.

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