There are many social issues prevalent in our society today, and it is up to the citizens of the country to raise their concerns with their leaders so that something can be done about them. Some of the social issues common across the country include abortion rights, racism, gun violence, drug abuse, high levels of unemployment, gay marriages, among many others. The citizens of the United States choose leaders whom they think will most accurately represent their views, and I hope to highlight some of my opinions in this letter. The issue of equality is one that is close to my heart because I believe that all people have the right to fair and equal treatment especially under the law. It is for this reason that I firmly believe in the rights of gay people to get married and enjoy the rights and privileges that come with marriage, as do any other heterosexual couples in this country. In addition to this, I would also like to advocate for gun control laws as gun violence has wrecked many lives, especially those of innocent people over the past few years. It is our collective responsibility to ensure a fair, just and equal society where all people can thrive, and addressing the issues of gun violence, and gay marriages would go a long way to ensure this.
Gun violence is a cause that is close to my heart. The United States has some very lax gun laws, and efforts to tighten regulations around gun laws have borne no fruit so far. Unfortunately, the country’s leadership is unwilling to enforce any change, as compared to countries such as New Zealand that stepped up to immediately institute gun law reforms in the wake of tragedy. On the 15th of March 2019, a gunman attacked a Christchurch mosque in a horrific shooting that left 51 people dead and scores injured. Less than 24 hours later, New Zealand’s prime minister announced a change in the gun laws of the country. The government would henceforth ban several types of assault weapons and ammunition. In addition to this, the government set up a buyback program designed to recover weapons from the public. Such a swift and decisive response seemed almost unbelievable to the United States, a country that has witnessed more mass shootings than any other.
Before the Christchurch shootings, New Zealand and the US shared several characteristics when it came to gun laws and gun control. The government in both countries was strongly influenced by gun lobby groups that seek to protect the citizens’ right to own and carry firearms. The right to own a gun is indeed constitutionally guaranteed, and many who advocate against gun control claim that carrying a firearm helps to keep them safe. This argument is a sound one. The right to carry a firearm should be respected, but the time has come to install common-sense gun laws to govern the senseless violence that comes from the unrestricted access to guns in this country. Some of the laws that should be put in place include background checks as well as mental checks on individuals seeking to buy a gun. The state of Texas has been affected by mass shootings, with the latest being at a Wal-Mart store in El Paso where 22 people were killed and 24 others injured. Less than a month later, a drive-by shooting led to the death of seven and left more than 20 people injured (Fernandez et al.). The increasing frequency of these shootings, most of them in public spaces and schools, show that it is time for the government to step up and ensure that those who own guns can be trusted to act responsibly and rationally.
The second social issue that I would like to discuss is gay marriages and gay rights. The LGBTQ community sadly continues to suffer from discriminatory policies and laws that negatively affect their lives. The US Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in 2015, marking a big win for the gay community in the country (Hagai & Cosby 481). However, gay couples still face hurdles in other areas of their lives. One example of this is in adoption. Gay couples still face discrimination, especially in cases where social workers deem gay couples unfit parents and deny them a chance to adopt children. The second issue is the legal rights of non-biological parents. When a couple has a child, the non-biological parent has to go through a rigorous adoption process to ensure that they are recognized as legal parents. There need to be laws that ensure both parents are legally recognized. In case something happens to the biological parent or the couple breaks up, many challenges can arise with regard to the legal rights of the non-biological parent.
To address issues around same-sex couples, the government should work towards treating same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. States such as Nevada, Massachusetts, and Vermont have done this by ensuring that both parents are listed in the child’s birth certificate (Hagai & Cosby 485). However, other states in the country, including Texas, still have impediments when it comes to the legal rights of same-sex parents. Same-sex couples should also be able to adopt children freely as they demonstrate that they are fit parents. There should be no double or discriminatory practices applied. Another issue when it comes to gay couples is access to benefits such as healthcare. Some policies do not recognize same-sex partners as beneficiaries of their partner’s benefits, and this can cause suffering to gay couples.
To conclude, there are many social issues that need to be addressed in society. Every person should feel free and safe in their environment and dealing with issues around gun laws, and gay rights will help to ensure that this is a reality. With the lack of comprehensive regulations governing the use and ownership of guns in Texas and the US as a whole, people feel unsafe in public spaces. Even worse is the fact that children in school face a serious threat of mass shootings. Gay couples should enjoy the same rights as any other married couple.
Fernandez, Manny et al. “Texas Shooting Leaves 7 Dead and At Least 21 Injured Near Odessa” The New York Times. 31 August 2019. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/31/us/odessa-shootings.htmlHagai, Ella Ben, and Faye J. Crosby. “Between relative deprivation and entitlement: An historical analysis of the battle for same-sex marriage in the United States.” Handbook of social justice theory and research. Springer, New York, NY, 2016. 477-489.