The Line

I was once asked by someone who was engaged in online debate with me regarding the merits of certain positions relating to the idea of rights and equality for LGBT people where I draw the line in terms of rights to be granted. As is my personal custom, rather than simply dismiss the question for the attempt at derailing that it was, I determined to answer it, as it was something I had been considering for several years.

This represents the point at where I draw them.

I derived these from the U.S. Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various international Human Rights documents, with the clarifying impact of the Yogyakarta principles.

The purpose here is to allow for people to gain an understanding of where I stand in terms of rights, which ultimately impact the decisions and efforts I engage in and write about.

There are additional aspects to this overall outlook, this “line in the sand” that I draw for “how far I will go”. The other aspects will eventually make an appearance, but will deal with things like the structure of government and related elements.

I do not believe that utopia is possible, or even desirable. I tend to favor government involvement in aspects of business, capitalism with boundaries, fiscal conservatism, local rule over federal, and I oppose the imposition of international government on other nations without consent of the governed. All of that, and, underneath it all, I am generally opposed to the idea of nationalism, in favor of a very different kind of structure.

So introduced, I present The Line:

The Civil Liberties of Citizens of the United States of America

Noting that the nature of the United States is a country of freedoms and liberties, and that it seeks to reaffirm the dignity and worth of human person, and the equal rights of all those people therein,

1. The Agent of the People

1.1. The Government is obligated to act as the Agent of the People, inclusive equally of all its citizens, to affirm and enforce the principle of inadmissibility of discrimination, promote respect for and observance of these liberties, and recognize that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

1.2. The Government has an obligation to undertake and ensure to all citizens within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction these rights without distinction of any kind, such as

1.2.1. Age, Race and Color,

1.2.2. Gender and Sex

1.2.2.1. Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity

1.2.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin,

1.2.3.1. Although reasonable definition of common language for governmental purposes is allowable

1.2.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,

1.2.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.

1.2.6. This code, 1.2 inclusive, shall be referenced herein as the Without Distinctions Rule, and shall apply, wholly, to all these rights herein, with only the specific exceptions so stated.

1.3. The Government will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of these rights.

1.3.1. The Government, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take the measures, including specific programs, which are needed:

1.3.1.1. To improve methods of production, conservation and distribution of food and water by making full use of technical and scientific knowledge, by disseminating knowledge of the principles of nutrition and by developing or reforming agrarian systems in such a way as to achieve the most efficient development and utilization of natural resources;

1.3.1.2. Taking into account the problems of both food-importing and food-exporting countries, to ensure an equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need.

1.3.2. The Government, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, shall take the measures, including specific programs, which are needed:

1.3.2.1. The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;

1.3.2.2. The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;

1.3.2.3. The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases;

1.3.2.4. The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.

1.4. The Government has an obligation to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized shall have an effective remedy.

1.5. The Government shall ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have is right thereto determined by the Constitution and the authorities it vests.

1.6. The Government shall ensure the equal right of all persons to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights as set forth herein, by law, by action, and by intent.

2. Rights Of Community

2.1. All Citizens shall have the right to self determination.

2.1.1. This freedom shall be extended to economic development

2.1.2. This freedom shall be extended to social development

2.1.3. This freedom shall be extended to cultural development

2.2. Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned prior and without unreasonable restrictions:

2.2.1. To take part in the conduct of public affairs through freely chosen representatives;

2.2.1.1. Representatives are bound to represent and reflect the entirety of their constituency

2.2.1.2. Representation shall be democratic in election

2.2.2. To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

2.2.3. To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in their country.

2.2.4. To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies;

2.2.5. To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;

2.2.6. To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.

2.3. In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to:

2.3.1. Enjoy their own culture,

2.3.2. Profess and practice their own religion,

2.3.3. Use of their own language.

3. Rights of Life and Liberty

3.1. All Citizens have the inherent right to life.

3.1.1. This right shall be protected by law.

3.2. No Citizen shall be arbitrarily deprived of their life.

3.2.1. The sentence of death may be imposed only fro the most serious crimes in accordance with the laws in force.

3.2.2. Anyone sentenced to death will have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence.

3.2.3. The Sentence of death shall not be imposed on persons below legal age as set through due process, nor on women while pregnant

3.3. No Citizen shall be held in slavery.

3.3.1. Slavery shall be prohibited by law.

3.3.2. No Citizen shall be held in servitude.

3.3.3. A sentence of forced or compulsory labor, lawfully done and with due process, within the reasonable scope of punishment for crimes done, shall not be considered slavery so long as the term of this does not exceed five years.

3.4. Every Citizen has the right to liberty and security of person.

3.4.1. No Citizen shall be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention.

3.4.2. No Citizen shall be deprived of their liberty except through due process.

3.5. All Citizens shall have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose their residence

3.5.1. All Citizens shall be free to leave the country.

3.5.2. No Citizen shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter their country.

3.5.3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

3.6. All Citizens shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

3.6.1. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt

3.6.1.1. a religion or belief of his choice, and

3.6.1.2. freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

3.6.2. No Citizen shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

3.6.3. The Government shall undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

3.6.4. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

3.7. All Citizens shall have the right to hold opinions without interference from the Government or Industry..

3.8. All Citizens shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3.8.1. The exercise of the rights provided for above carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

3.8.1.1. For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

3.8.1.2. For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health.

3.8.1.3. Any advocacy of national, racial, ethnic, religious, sex, creed,  gender or related Without Distinction Rule hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

3.8.1.4. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

3.9. Every Citizen has the right:

3.9.1. To take part in cultural life;

3.9.2. To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;

3.9.3. To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which they are the author.

3.10. The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.

3.10.1. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order , the protection of public health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

3.10.2. All Citizens shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

3.10.3. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

3.10.3.1. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police in their exercise of this right.

3.10.3.2. Nothing in this article shall authorize Government to take legislative measures which would prejudice, or to apply the law in such a manner as to prejudice, the above rights.

3.11. All Citizens shall have the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including

3.11.1. adequate food,

3.11.2. clothing and housing,

3.11.3. and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

3.12 All citizens shall have the right to personal bodily integrity, without interference from the Government, in such a manner that what is within the confines of their body is their property

3.12.1 This grants a right of privacy for one’s self, and

3.12.2 Ensures that persons cannot be compelled by Government to submit to invasive actions on their person without due process and cooperation.

4. Rights of Family

4.1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

4.1.1. The right of individuals of marriageable age to marry shall be recognized

4.1.1.1. The betrothal and the marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriages in an official registry compulsory.

4.1.1.2. No marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

4.1.2. The right of individuals of marriageable age to found a family shall be recognized.

4.1.3. States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

4.1.3.1. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children.

4.1.4. All parties to a marriage shall have:

4.1.4.1. The same rights and responsibilities as parents, irrespective of their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

4.1.4.2. The same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

4.1.4.3. The same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children, or similar institutions where these concepts exist in national legislation; in all cases the interests of the children shall be paramount;

4.1.4.4. The same personal rights, including the right to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation;

4.1.4.5. The same rights for all spouses in respect of the ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property, whether free of charge or for consideration.

4.1.4.6. equal rights with respect to the nationality of their children.

4.1.5. This right shall not preclude individuals based on number thereof

4.1.5.1. Exceptions to ensure the security of family members are allowable

4.1.6. Special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits.

4.2. No Citizen shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference, search, or seizure, with

4.2.1. their privacy,

4.2.2. family,

4.2.3. home or correspondence,

4.2.4. nor to unlawful attacks on their honor and reputation.

4.2.5. All Citizens have the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

4.3. Every child shall have the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.

4.3.1. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.

4.3.2. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.

4.3.3. Every child has the right to Family.

4.3.4. Special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions. Children and young persons should be protected from economic and social exploitation.

4.3.4.1. Their employment in work harmful to their morals or health or dangerous to life or likely to hamper their normal development should be punishable by law.

4.3.4.2. States should also set age limits below which the paid employment of child labor should be prohibited and punishable by law.

4.4. All persons are equal in these Rights of Family. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination these rights, without distinction of any kind, as noted in the Without Distinctions Rule.

4.4.1. Age, Race and Color,

4.4.2. Gender and Sex

4.4.2.1. Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity

4.4.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin,

4.4.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,

4.4.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.

4.5. All Citizens shall have the right to acquire, change or retain their nationality

4.5.1. The government shall ensure in particular that neither marriage to an alien nor change of nationality by a spouse during marriage shall automatically change the nationality of the other spouse, render them stateless or force upon them the nationality of the other.

5. Rights of Work

5.1. All Citizens shall have the right to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

5.1.1. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

5.1.1.1. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

5.1.1.2. A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

5.1.2. Safe and healthy working conditions;

5.1.3. Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

5.1.4. Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays

5.2. All Citizens shall have the right to form trade unions and join the trade union of their choice, subject only to the rules of the organization concerned, for the promotion and protection of their economic and social interests.

5.2.1. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others;

5.3. The right of trade unions to establish national federations or confederations and the right of the latter to form or join international trade-union organizations;

5.3.1. The right of trade unions to function freely subject to no limitations other than those prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others;

5.4. The right to strike, provided that it is exercised in conformity with the laws of the particular country.

5.4.1. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces or of the police or of the administration of the State.

6. Rights of Education

6.1. Every Citizen shall have the right to education.

6.1.1. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity

6.1.2. Education shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that

6.1.3. Education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the maintenance of peace.

6.2. The Government shall recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right:

6.2.1. Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all;

6.2.2. Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;

6.2.3. Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education;

6.2.4. Fundamental education shall be encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed the whole period of their primary education;

6.2.5. The development of a system of schools at all levels shall be actively pursued, an adequate fellowship system shall be established, and the material conditions of teaching staff shall be continuously improved.

6.3. The Government shall undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to:

6.3.1. choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities,

6.3.1.1. which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State

6.3.2. and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

6.4. No part of this article shall be construed so as to interfere with the liberty of individuals and bodies to establish and direct educational institutions, subject always to the observance of the principles set forth in this article and to the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the State.

7. Rights before the Courts

7.1. All Citizens charged with a criminal offence shall:

7.1.1. have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;

7.1.2. be imprisoned merely on the grounds of being unable to fulfill a contractual obligation;

7.1.3. have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law;

7.2. All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.

7.3. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination these rights, per the without distinction rule, of any kind, such as

7.3.1. Age, Race and Color,

7.3.2. Gender and Sex

7.3.2.1. Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity

7.3.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin,

7.3.3.1. Although reasonable definition of common language for judicial purposes is allowable

7.3.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,

7.3.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.

7.4. In the determination of any criminal charge against them, All Citizens shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

7.4.1. To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which they understand of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

7.4.2. To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their defense and to communicate with counsel of their own choosing;

7.4.3. To be tried without undue delay;

7.4.4. To be tried in their presence, and to defend their persons in person or through legal assistance of their own choosing; to be informed, if they do not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to them, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by them in any such case if they do not have sufficient means to pay for it;

7.4.5. To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against them and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on their behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against them;

7.4.6. To have the free assistance of an interpreter if they cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

7.4.7. Not to be compelled to testify against their self or to confess guilt.

7.5. All Citizens convicted of a crime shall have the right to their conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.

7.5.1. When a person has by a final decision been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction shall be compensated according to law, unless it is proved that the non-disclosure of the unknown fact in time is wholly or partly attributable to that person.

7.5.2. No Citizen shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which they have already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure.

7.6. No Citizen shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence at the time when it was committed.

7.6.1. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed.

7.6.2. If, subsequent to the commission of the offence, provision is made by law for the imposition of the lighter penalty, the offender shall benefit thereby.

7.6.3. Nothing in this article shall prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations.

7.7. In the determination of any criminal charge against them, or of their rights and obligations in a suit at law, All Citizens shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

7.7.1. The press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; but any judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.

7.8. In the case of juvenile persons, the procedure shall be such as will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation.

8.0 Rights of Defense

8.1 The rights of individuals to defend their persons, their personal property, and the lives of others in immediate and grave harm shall not be abridged.

8.2 Reasonable and prudent restrictions on the nature and type of firearms and other weapons possessed can be made

8.2.1 Each individual may possess one firearm for self defense

8.2.2 The individual must be licensed to use that firearm

8.2.3 The individual must be competently trained in the use of that firearm

8.2.4 The firearm must be made ready for inspection on properly made request

8.3 The State shall provide for the defense of the common good through a well-trained and maintained militia

8.3.1 That militia shall be composed of volunteers

8.3.2 That militia shall be compensated commensurate with the risk they take on

8.3.3 No citizen can be compelled to volunteer more than four (4) years in service to this militia

8.3.4 Volunteers shall not be denied participation on the basis of

8.3.4.1. Age, Race and Color,

8.3.4.1.1 Excepting that they be no younger than 21 years of age, nor older than 75 years of age

8.3.4.2. Gender and Sex

8.3.4.2.1. Inclusive of identity, sexuality, and heteronormativity

8.3.4.3. Language, Ethnicity, and National or Social origin,

8.3.4.3.1. Although reasonable definition of common language for governmental purposes is allowable

8.3.4.4. Religion, Creed, Political, or other opinion,

8.3.4.5. Property, Birth, Social Class, or other status.

8.3.5 Each citizen has a right to refuse to kill another person, without relying on substantive grounds for such a decision

9.0 Rights of Health & Welfare

9.1 Concomitant with the Rights thus established heretofore, it is necessary to establish the rights of Health and Welfare for all persons.

9.2 Each citizen shall have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and

9.2.1 the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control,

9.2.2 Through the action of the State, for the duration of their lives, in a manner which is reasonable and affordable for them, in accordance to the Without Distinction Rule.

9.2.2.1 This action on the part of the State shall be without regard to risk measures.

10.0 Rights of Resources

10.1 It is understood that all citizens have an equal share in the Resources of the territories and jurisdictions that their Governments, which are the Agents of the People, find at their disposal, inclusive of mineral, water, property, and intangible values that such resources provide.

10.2 All persons have a right to access the places and areas of remarkable beauty and significant social wonder that this world offers.

10.2.1 Such that the Government may establish areas that are set aside, in perpetuity, for the use and enjoyment of their citizens, to include areas and places of

10.2.1.1 Historic or Cultural Value

10.2.1.2 Notable natural Beauty

10.2.1.3 Recreational Value

10.2.1.4 Significant importance to the existence of the natural habitats of those creatures at risk of extinction

10.2.2 And that these places will have access as cultural institutions, without distinction as to who may access or use them

The goal with the 10th right here is simple – to preserve nature and natural places for future generations, such as the national parks and national monuments; to ensure that the ever shrinking wildlife due to human extension are given a sanctuary; to preserve some areas of true wilderness; to determine the rules for access and usage of such in an increasingly populated world; and to ensure that as our population grows, we remember that our precious resources such as minerals, water, and land itself, are used responsibly and wisely with an eye to the future, to sustainability, and to independence, instead of economic concerns.

It is likely going to take me a while to finalize the 10th set of Rights that mark the line I draw here, as I still have research to do in this area.

Of particular concern here is the availability of resources, especially water and energy, in a nation that tends to not entirely be aware of the impact of its consumption of the natural resources we have is having on our current and future lives.  The impact of Oil, which is enormous and ubiquitous, is one small aspect of this, and must be accounted for in these Rights if the next generations are to have a chance to survive and grow and come to understand the joys and tribulations of a free society.