Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can Gay Rights activists claim "basic human rights"

A stated goal of the Gay Activists Alliance founded in New York City in December of 1969, was to "secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people." Wikipedia. This statement referring to the concept of "basic human rights" has been repeated thousands of times in the context of the activists' rhetoric.

In examining this topic it is important to differentiate between those "basic human rights" which are defined as those "basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled" (Wikipedia) and what the Gay Activists mean by the phrase, the recognition of same-sex marriage.

Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), states: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." Wikipedia.

However, Article 16 of the UDHR states:

Article 16
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to
race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its
Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

The Declaration continues to be widely cited by governments, academics, advocates and constitutional courts and individual human beings who appeal to its principles for the protection of their recognised human rights. But the UDHR itself states that

Article 29, Paragraph 2 of the UDHR explains the limitations of the Declaration:

In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only
to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing
due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting
the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a
democratic society.

It is important at this juncture to emphasize that these statements come from the United Nations documents, not from anything directly adopted by the government of the United States of America. It should be noted that the UDHR would not seem to provide any support for the adoption of the phrase "basic human rights" by the Gay Activists.

The U.S. Federal Courts have infrequently used the term "basic human rights" and then only routinely in the context of political asylum cases. Importantly, there are apparently no Federal cases at all linking the issue of "basic human rights" with Gay Rights in any way. Not surprisingly, the term "basic human rights" has only been linked to Gay Rights in one single case, Anderson v. King County, 138 P. 3d 963, 158 Wash. 2d 1, (2006). The Anderson case was brought by Gay Rightists seeking to invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act in Washington State. The phrase was used by the Plaintiff/Appellees in that case in their arguments. The Washington Supreme Court reversed the lower court and upheld the constitutionality of the Washington statute.

Although the term "basic human rights" has great emotional appeal, it is evident that the use of the term by the Gay Activists is pure propaganda. It is further apparent that an appeal to "basic human rights" at least as defined by the United Nations, would not recognize Gay Rights' issues.


  1. It's as many of us have been saying all along, there is no such thing as a basic human right to marry. Marriage is a reserved institution, sanctioned by the state, to establish legal and moral ties between a husband, a wife and their children.

  2. Those are good points. In California, the Supreme Court invented a basic human right to marriage, but it's not on any sure legal foundation.

    The problem I see with gay marriage is that it pits supposed gay rights against actual child rights.

    Children have the right to a mom and a dad. No adult's sexual preference should come before that basic right.