Constitutional FAQ Answer #123
Q123. "Are civil rights and civil liberties the same thing?"
A. They are used interchangeably and often mean the same thing. Certainly they do colloquially. More specifically, though, civil rights are thought to be those actions of the government that are taken to protect civil liberties. Laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, for example, find a civil right in the civil liberty of equal protection. It is a very subtle difference.