Volume 73, Number 3

June 1998

Choose or Lose: Embracing Theories of Choice in Gay Rights Litigation Strategies

Jonathan Pickhardt

The decision of gay rights litigators to adopt choice-denying constitutional arguments reflects both the exigencies of litigating after Bowers and the broader social acceptance of the belief that gay people do not choose to be gay. However, choice-denying arguments have proven ineffective in the legal realm. In addition, they threaten to undermine the broader gay rights movement by implicitly suggesting that being gay is undesirable, by leading gay rights advocates to make claims that are untenable and short sighted, and by misrepresenting segments of the gay community.