Chapter

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Is Sexual Orientation an Immutable Status or a Fundamental Choice?

Robert Wintemute

in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9780198264880
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682841 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264880.003.0007

Series: Sexual Orientation and Human Rights

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Is Sexual Orientation an Immutable Status or a Fundamental Choice?

Show Summary Details

Preview

Would recognition of sexual orientation as an ‘immutable status’ provide an effective solution to the problem of public sector discrimination against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals and same-sex emotional-sexual conduct? In considering whether sexual orientation is immutable or a fundamental choice, one should look at the direction of a person's emotional-sexual attraction, because the direction of their conduct is almost certainly chosen. It is certainly true that many gay men and lesbian women sincerely believe that the direction of their attraction is something they did not choose and cannot change, which makes same-sex emotional-sexual conduct the only viable choice for them. Their own subjective belief in the immutability of their own sexual orientation (as direction of attraction) will often make an immutable status argument seem to them the most appealing response to sexual orientation discrimination. Is a person's choice of the direction of their emotional-sexual conduct ‘fundamental’? The first issue that arises is whether this question is to be answered under Section 15(1) or under another provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Keywords: Canada; sexual orientation; immutable status; sexual orientation discrimination; gays; lesbians; emotional-sexual conduct; immutability; fundamental choice

Chapter.  13089 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.