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Article Title

The Power of Dignity

Abstract

This Essay juxtaposes the historical and judicial equating of homosexuality and stigma with the Court’s development of a jurisprudence of dignity for gay men and lesbians, culminating in its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The language of Obergefell reflects an acceptance of and respect for gay men and lesbians that—regardless of one’s actual desire to marry or attitudes toward the institution of marriage—will profoundly change not only how the law treats LGB individuals, but also how we are treated by others, as well as how we perceive ourselves. I do not mean to assert that Obergefell is without its flaws, or that LGB people are without dignity and self-respect absent Obergefell; fundamentally, however, the symbolic and genuine power of the Court’s dignity-based reasoning is extraordinary.

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