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Sexual orientation is one of many different ways of referring to sexuality in law. Other approaches include the use of terms that refer to specific sexualities, such as homosexuality, lesbian, or gay. In addition, sexual orientation competes with other more general categories, such as lawful sexual activity, sexuality, sexual preference, sexual option, sexual identity, or the even more general “way of life.” Like these other terms, sexual orientation is closely associated with political demands for recognition of sexual identity. These demands focus on civil and human rights that protect individuals against the state and against individual actions that promote the social and cultural exclusion of lesbians and gay men.

Sexual orientation is a phrase that refers to a complex of ideas associated with sexuality. The word ...

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