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Gay Rights As A Particular Instantiation of Human Rights
Albany Law Review (2001)
  • Vincent J Samar, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Contrary to recent claims by some that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) rights are special rights, this article shows that such rights are logically part of what we mean by human rights. It does this both by offering a suitably general understanding of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by showing how gay rights claims, in particular, fit within a moral justification for universal human rights. The article proceeds by first defining what gay and lesbian rights are. This is done by showing how many claims made by LGPT people fit within rights discourse generally. An explication is then presented of the rights protected by the Universal Declaration, and specific reasons are provided for why those rights are human rights as such. All this is followed by a metaethical argument for why the rights found in the Declaration ought to be protected, utilizing the method of analysis of the philosopher, Alan Gewirth. Next, particular conceptions of privacy, freedom of speech and equal protection are presented which fit both a broad understanding of the UN Declaration and the justification proffered. These conceptions elaborate ways in which privacy, freedom of speech and equal protection function to protect human autonomy, dignity and justice respectively. Within this last area, particular gay rights to adult consensual sexual freedom, nondiscrimination, marriage, parenting and so forth can be seen as particular instances of one or more of these broader rights within the scope of the UN Declaration.

Note: This is a description of the paper and not the actual abstract.
Publication Date
May, 2001
Citation Information
Vincent J Samar. "Gay Rights As A Particular Instantiation of Human Rights" Albany Law Review Vol. 64 Iss. 3 (2001)
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