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Abstract

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges asserts legal marriage’s capacity to afford same-sex couples a measure of “equal dignity” and belonging too long denied. In this Essay, I ask whether there is any reason to believe that marriage could do the same for African Americans. Could broader entrance into marriage, as some conservatives suggest, provide Blacks—gay and straight—a measure of belonging that has been frustratingly elusive, even as the nation prepares to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment’s ratification?

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