06 June 2017

Dignity and the Canon

'Human Dignity and Its Critics' by Jacob Weinrib in Gary Jacobsohn and Miguel Schor (eds) Comparative Constitutional Theory (Elgar, forthcoming) explores
four prominent objections to the overarching role that human dignity plays in constitutional and human rights law. In the eyes of its critics, human dignity is objectionable because it (1) is too variable to be captured by a coherent constitutional theory; (2) stands in opposition to a liberal vision of constitutional governance; (3) fails to offer guidance for resolving constitutional disputes; and (4) is incapable of justifying anything until it is itself justified. My aim is to unearth the presuppositions that generate these objections, explain why these presuppositions are controversial, and to formulate a set of plausible alternatives that do not give rise to these objections. Since the leading objections stem from presuppositions that need not be accepted, these objections do not preclude the formulation of a comparative constitutional theory of human dignity.
'The Gay Rights Canon and the Right to Nonmarriage' by (2017) 97 Boston University Law Review 425 comments 
In the line of cases from Romer v. Evans to Obergefell v. Hodges, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) people went from outlaws to citizens entitled to dignity and equality. These decisions represent incredible successes for the LGBT rights movement. Some who support LGBT equality, however, argue that these victories came at a great cost: the gay rights canon, it is said, entrenches the supremacy of marriage and the marital family.
Marriage equality skeptics are right to be concerned about this possibility. Marriage is increasingly a marker of privilege. Individuals who marry and stay married are disproportionately likely to be white and more affluent. It is also important, however, not to overlook the more progressive potential of the gay rights canon.
This Article reclaims this potential. This Article offers two novel and important contributions. First, it identifies and gives substance to the constitutional principles of the gay rights canon. Second, this Article uses the principles of the gay rights canon to offer a rereading of Obergefell. This progressive rereading supports, rather than forecloses, the extension of constitutional protection to those living outside marriage.