Dignity is a rather elusive and malleable concept compared with more concrete qualities such as race and sex. Which relationships are sufficiently dignified to warrant protection? What about couples who do not wish to marry but cohabitate? What about polyamorous families, who are less accepted by public opinion but are perhaps no less exemplary when it comes to, in Kennedy’s words on marriage, “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”? The justice does not specify. It certainly appears as if Obergefell extends this protection because same-sex unions are now deemed acceptable by the majority. The courts may not be so readily inclined to find that other loving relationships are, to quote the opinion, a “keystone of the Nation’s social order” when they take less-orthodox forms. But popularity hardly seems like a proper legal guide to whether a relationship is dignified.
Jonathan Turley, “The trouble with the ‘dignity’ of same-sex marriage”, Washington Post (2 July 2015) [http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trouble-with-the-dignity-of-same-sex-marriage/2015/07/02/43bd8f70-1f4e-11e5-aeb9-a411a84c9d55_story.html]