Dignity and Degradation: Transnational Lessons from the Constitutional Protection of Sex


This paper begins by tracing the history of the concept of human dignity from the time of Cicero through the Enlightenment, to the aftermath of WW II. It then examines the contemporary constitutional concept across multiple national jurisdictions, focusing on cases related to sex. Ultimately, the paper urges that while dignity has been regarded as an overarching value that promises to protect all human beings against threats to the most fundamental of human rights, it instead produces undesirable hierarchies and demeans a range of sexual practices that pro-sex feminists and queers want to see constitutionally protected.


Sexuality and the Law

Date of this Version

November 2006