Dating the State: The Moral Hazards of Winning Gay Rights

48 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2012

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 29, 2012


The article offers a critical analysis of the complexities of having the state recognize and then take up gay rights as a cause of its own. I examine three principal contexts – the role of gay rights in the state of Israel’s re-branding campaign, the response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2007 speech at Columbia University in which he claimed that there were no homosexuals in Iran, and the role of gay rights in Romania’s effort to join the European Community – as examples of the moral hazards that a minority faces when the state takes up their interests and uses their rights for purposes that well-exceed the obvious interests of the new rights-bearing community. I conclude that critical awareness of the state’s role as fundamental partner in the recognition and protection of a form of sexual rights should push us to regard these “victories” as necessarily ethically compromised.

Keywords: gay rights, pinkwashing, Israel, Iran, Romania

Suggested Citation

Franke, Katherine M., Dating the State: The Moral Hazards of Winning Gay Rights (February 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Katherine M. Franke (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
(212) 854-0061 (Phone)
(212) 854-7946 (Fax)


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