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social sciences

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European Commission on Human Rights / European Court of Human Rights  
page: 1  2  3  

Unlike Lusig-Prean and Beckett, Smith and Grady also argued that Britain's policy contradicted Article 3, which prohibits inhumane or "degrading treatment or punishment." They claimed that that Article 10, which provides for freedom of expression, was violated because the ban against gay service members limited "their right to give expression to their sexual identity." The third violation came under Article 13, which requires that a country provide "an effective remedy before a national assembly" for the applicants' complaints.

Smith and Grady lost the Article 3 complaint because the facts of their cases failed to reach the minimum level of severity needed. They lost the Article 10 charge because it was deemed unnecessary since they had won the Article 8 complaint. With Article 13, the Court found the minimum threshold of the rationality test in domestic courts to be so high as effectively to deprive the courts of the opportunity to consider whether the investigations and subsequent discharges of the applicants served the national security claims of the government.

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With its decision, the Court became the first final appellate court in the world to invalidate a ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual military personnel under a human rights treaty or constitution. The verdict could not force Britain to change its laws. However, pressure from the Court had a significant impact, particularly since Britain prides itself on its human rights record and its membership in the European community. Consequently, Britain ended its ban in 2000.

Caryn E. Neumann

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social sciences >> Overview:  Greece: Modern

Modern Greece is a conservative society in which there is little tolerance for openly queer lifestyles, but activists have worked since the 1970s to improve the status of gay men and lesbians.

social sciences >> Overview:  Ireland

Given the dominance of the Roman Catholic church on its culture, Ireland was a country in the closet until relatively recent times.

social sciences >> Overview:  Military Culture: European

Attitudes toward gay and lesbian personnel in European militaries vary widely, from the acceptance of the Dutch to the laissez-faire policy of the French to the rejection of the Greek and Turkish forces.

social sciences >> Overview:  Portugal

Portugal has made significant progress in recent years toward affording equal opportunity to its glbtq citizens.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Kingdom II: 1900 to the Present

Twentieth-century efforts to reform British law and public opinions about homosexuality met with mixed results, but at the beginning of the twenty-first century the United Kingdom has emerged as a leader in recognizing the rights of its glbtq citizens.

arts >> Ashley, April

Outed as a transsexual in 1961, the indomitable April Ashley rose from poverty to become a glamorous entertainer and top model who married into the British aristocracy and later became a transgender activist.

social sciences >> Cashman, Michael

British politician Michael Cashman gained fame as an actor before becoming a Labour Party member of the European Parliament where he worked diligently on behalf of equal rights.

social sciences >> International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is a worldwide federation of local and national groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Mason, Angela

The former head of Britain's first gay rights lobbying organization, Angela Mason has worked toward achieving equality for women and glbtq individuals in the United Kingdom.

social sciences >> Norris, David

Literary scholar and senator, David Norris is Ireland's most effective advocate of glbtq rights.


Council of Europe.

Council of Europe. Publications of the European Court of Human Rights: Series A: Judgments and Decisions: Rees Case 24 January 1986. Berlin: Carl Heymanns Verlag KG, 1987.

Helfer, Lawrence R. "Finding a Consensus on Equality: The Homosexual Age of Consent and the European Convention on Human Rights." New York University Law Review 65.4 (October 1990): 1044-45, 1059-61.

McGhee, Derek. Homosexuality, Law, and Resistance. London: Routledge, 2001.

Robertson, A. H. Human Rights in Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977.

Tatchell, Peter. Europe in the Pink: Lesbian and Gay Equality in the New Europe. London: GMP, 1992.

Wintemute, Robert. "European Court of Human Rights Strikes Down British Ban on Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals in the Armed Forces." Lesbian/Gay Law Notes (October 1999): 1-5.


    Citation Information
    Author: Neumann, Caryn E.  
    Entry Title: European Commission on Human Rights / European Court of Human Rights  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 28, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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