Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Earth -- 25 Feb. 2057: Amid raucous demonstrations in Amity Plaza this day, the Alliance for Primate Equality delivered a petition to the Stellar Parliament calling for comprehensive legislation to address anti-primate discrimination throughout society.
"For too long has the ape been kept down by the shackles of the so-called 'Human' race," said APE spokesperson Darwin Gimbo to a crowd of 300 000 assorted Hominids including chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and neanderthals. "Apes are just as capable as humans of accomplishing any task and have the same physical requirements. There is no reason, none whatsoever, why apes should not enjoy the same standards of life and acceptance in society as humans. No reason, save raw unapologetic speciesism!"
APE is seeking legislation prohibiting discrimination against non-human primates in areas as diverse as employment, lodging, health care, education, travel, and commercial services. According to Dr. Threnody Cassbach, a professor of sociology at Mariner University, this legislation is long overdue.
"There are still many districts in the Stellar Alliance where it is perfectly legal for apes to be refused service in stores and restaurants, to be refused access to perfectly suitable housing based on the whims of the owners, even to be confined to separate -- and usually inferior -- sections of buses, aircraft, and jumpships. When challenged, the owners often cite sanitary concerns. This is laughable; apes are just as capable of keeping themselves clean as humans, and I've known some humans -- redacts, even -- who are dirtier than any ape I ever met."
Dr. Cassbach went on to quote a recent study which found that non-human primates are clearly under-represented in professions requiring advanced education and are concentrated among the ranks of manual labourers and persons of leisure. "The idea, in this day and age, that our society can allow a de facto underclass like this is frankly appalling," Cassbach concluded.
Others voices are not so enthusiastic about the proposed anti-discrimination laws.
The pro-human group Humans for Humanism has issued a press release condemning the rally, referring to the participants as a "pack of noisy, smelly, crazy chimps and monkeys" and calling the idea of primate integration "an insult to the dignity of every human being in the Solar System." We reached the communications director of Humans for Humanity, Pilford Bujoltz, at his home on Excelsior Station.
"I have nothing against chimps, in their place, but I don't want them eating or living near me," Bujoltz explained in a series of tweets. "They've always been violent, filthy, lascivious creatures and uplift hasn't changed that." Asked about the species gap in employment, Bujoltz retorted that "Chimps do hard dirty jobs cause that's what they're good at -- muscle, not brains" and "Would you hire a chimp to be a lawyer or a doctor? Didn't think so!"
Nemian Dilvorg, the Stellar Parliament representative for Ganymede-Sextibus and member of the Libertarian party, believes that passing such a law would set a dangerous precedent.
"Here on Ganymede we don't want bureaucrats from Baikonur coming in and telling us who we have to hire or who we have to deal with," zie stated during a debate in the Trapezoid following the presentation of the petition. "What comes next? Every residential block needs to install a tank for squids and dolphins? At whose expense? Every workplace has to hire B8-level autistics even if they have no work to suit them? Where does it end?"
Answering accusations of speciesism from members of the Socialist and Technocrat parties, Dilvorg retorted that "I love apes. Some of my best friends and most respected colleagues are apes. This is nothing but a blind for rampant statist interventionism, and we won't have it."
But Darwin Gimbo remains optimistic that change will come despite strenuous opposition.
"I firmly believe that the people are on our side," Gimbo said to reporters at a press conference after the rally. "We are siblings on the evolutionary tree, you and I. Soon, refusing an ape a table at a restaurant will be as unthinkable as refusing a dark-skinned human or a cyborg."