Lessons from Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Central Europe: A Look at Interplays and Veto-players

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This Article examines the experience of law reform in the field of sexual orientation discrimination in Central Europe, focusing mainly on Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. It seeks to analyze the interplay of European antidiscrimination and equality law with developments in other fields such as labor law, family law, political rights jurisprudence and criminal law, which have a potential impact upon the evolution of gay and lesbian rights. Based on an analysis of the interplay of antidiscrimination law with such other areas of legal and judicial decision-making, the paper argues that progressive developments in sexual orientation law in the jurisdictions examined are better explained by reference to the actions of influential "veto-players" in the political process, rather than by the assumption of a new societal or political consensus reflected in the legal reforms introduced. A change in the relative powers of such veto-players in the domestic legal and political field due to the appearance of new actors or even new elections provides an alternative and plausible explanation for the withdrawal and silence of those who might otherwise be expected to block sexual orientation law reform. Further, to the extent that silence on the part of veto-players is not based on the elimination of long-held prejudice or a profound change in attitudes and values, it should be recognized that the inaction of veto-players may be temporary and cannot be taken for granted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-264
JournalAmerican Journal of Comparative Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • equality

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