Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
"Special rights" is a political term used primarily by conservatives in the United States to refer to laws that enumerate rights related to sexual orientation (e.g. the right to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, the right to marry a person of any gender, etc.) Gay rights advocates prefer to describe these laws as ending discrimination, and thus conferring equal rights. The differing vocabulary (some might say rhetoric, though these views are often deeply held) thus mirrors the political disagreement.
Ralph Reed, Republican political strategist and former executive director of the Christian Coalition (which opposes such enumerated rights), said "No one should have special rights or privileges, or minority status because of their sexual behaviour. We don't have it for people who are polygamists, we don't have it for people who have affairs on their wives or husbands."  Other groups have expressed similar sentiments.
In the United States, in many situations (such as employment, housing, and public accomodations) it is illegal to discriminate based on sex, race, religion, and other attributes. Some states and localities outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in certain circumstances, but many do not.
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