Sample Essays

Gay Rights Activist – Law School Sample Essay – UNEDITED

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In December of 1988, Texas state District Court Judge Jack Hampton sentenced a man convicted of double homicide to a term of thirty years. After the hearing, Judge Hampton explained the light sentence with the statement “I don’t care much for queers cruising the streets picking up teenage boys. I put prostitutes and gays at about the same level. If these boys had picked up two prostitutes and taken them to the woods and killed them, I’d consider that a similar case. And I’d be hard put to give somebody life for killing a prostitute.”

Ideally, the American judicial system provides equal treatment to all parties. After working in the New York City jail system and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, however, I am dismayed by the disparity between ideology and reality. The court system which should treat all individuals equally consistently falls short of this goal.

Because of various biases which exist within the court system, and within society as a whole, gays and lesbians in this country have historically been neglected or even persecuted by the law. In many ways, this neglect can be attributed to the social construct of the “closet.” Because homosexuals in this country have been forced by society and the courts to suppress their own identities, their places within society are undermined. When gays and lesbians are told by society that they have a “lifestyle” rather than lives, and that this “chosen” lifestyle is abnormal and unacceptable, then they have been effectively forced out of society. Since the court system fails to address issues of discrimination in employment and housing, and neglects to punish perpetrators of hate crimes, gays and lesbians lose the one recourse which is supposedly guaranteed to all individuals. Justice Warren Burger writes in the Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986 decision, “condemnation of those practices [homosexual sodomy] is firmly rooted in Judaeo-Christian moral and ethical standards…To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.” When the highest court in the country condones the use of sexual orientation as a means to marginalize individuals, and people must conceal their identity to avoid societal discrimination, then gays and lesbians have truly lost their identities.

Although the judicial system has made progress in correcting its ills, it is impossible to deny that inequality in the application of justice still exists. As an individual considering a career in the law, I have a responsibility to recognize the disparity between ideology and reality, and to condemn it. Through obtaining a law degree, I hope to join many others in the struggle for our rights and dignity, and strive within an imperfect court system toward the goal of greater equality within the law.

Note: This essay appears unedited for instructional purposes. Essays edited by EssayEdge are substantially improved. For samples of EssayEdge editing, please click here.

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