Finding the homosexual in women's rights

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In recent years, organizations on the American Christian Right (CR) have become established actors at the United Nations, working to limit international agreement on developments seen as 'anti-family', such as women's rights, population policy and abortion. At the same time, the Vatican has established itself as a strong voice opposing international law and policy on women's rights. For both actors, women's rights represent a direct challenge to the 'natural family' and hence a particular world vision premised on a sexual division of labour. While women's rights is a central preoccupation for both actors, 'homosexuality' and the prospect of lesbian and gay rights and 'gay marriage' is also a recurrent theme, intricately connected to women's rights. This article explores the relationship between women's rights and homosexuality as drawn by these two actors. It asks why, in an international arena that offers little concrete recognition of, or protection for, lesbian and gay identities both the CR and Vatican are concerned about a presumed homosexual agenda. It also explores what role the debate about women's rights plays in facilitating this 'homosexual agenda'. In addressing these questions, this article seeks to explore, and raise further questions about international women's rights as a language for international discussion about social relations. © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anti-gay
  • Christian Right
  • Gender
  • Lesbian and gay
  • United Nations
  • Vatican
  • Women's rights

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  • Doris E. Buss

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