Abstract

Both advocates and opponents of lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights (LGB rights) make reference to whether and how sexual orientations are embodied, namely whether one's sexual orientation is innate, unchangeable, or a "natural fact". In particular, in the United States, discussion centers on whether LGB people are "born that way" or "choose" to be gay. In litigation about LGB rights, this discussion connects to the so-called immutability factor in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in similar clauses in state constitutions. My presentation surveys the surrounding conceptual and the legal issues and focuses on how they play out in the context of recent court cases related to marriage for same-sex couples. I argue that in legal as well as political and social contexts, it is a better strategy to focus on justice, equality and fairness and to avoid biological, psychological, and other scientific issues about how sexual orientations are embodied.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-768X
Print ISSN
0037-783X
Pages
pp. 633-658
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-30
Open Access
No
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