Robert Wintemute

in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198264880
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682841 | DOI:

Series: Sexual Orientation and Human Rights


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Over the fifty years since the end of World War II in 1945, representatives of the millions of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals around the world who have been affected by discrimination have sought to establish a general principle of human rights law: that discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation is prima facie wrongful and requires a strong justification. There are two main routes that can be taken in challenging sexual orientation discrimination and attempting to achieve recognition of a human right to be free from it: the political route and the legal route. This book focuses on the ‘legal route’ to human rights protection and its use under three human rights instruments: the United States constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also examines three of the most commonly used arguments for interpreting these instruments as prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination: sexual orientation is an ‘immutable status’, sexual orientation is a ‘fundamental choice’ (or part of ‘privacy’), and sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination.

Keywords: United States; constitution; Europe; Canada; sexual orientation discrimination; human rights; fundamental choice; immutable status

Chapter.  9946 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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