Obergefell v. Hodges: Five Years Later

Supreme Court of the United States ends marriage discrimination – Obergefell vs Hodges. Photo Creator: Ted Eytan

On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States issued its momentous opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges.  Only a few SCOTUS decisions have provoked such strong debate over the majority’s arguments and its understanding of human dignity or the nature of judicial power.  In this blog conversation, American and European legal scholars and lawyers reflect on the postmodern understanding of marriage that inspired the decision and on the consequences of Obergefell for promotion of LGBTI-people’s rights, on religious exemptions, on democracy in the United States, on children’s rights, on the European Court of Human Right’s jurisprudence, and on the search for the compromise between religious freedom and anti-discrimination claims. This variety of reflections, both positive and critical, illustrates how the decision has become an important episode in American and global legal and human rights history. Continue readingObergefell v. Hodges: Five Years Later”

Human Dignity, SOGI Claims, and the Obergefell Decision


Christine M. Venter
is a Teaching Professor at Notre Dame Law School and Affiliated Faculty in Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

It has now been five years since Obergefell, but one thing that even many opponents of the decision on religious freedom grounds might find common ground with, is the language used by Justice Kennedy when referring to the LGBTI+ community. In his opinion, Kennedy focused on the human dignity of the individual and what is required for dignity and full recognition of personhood. Obergefell represents the culmination of the Court’s gay and lesbian rights cases in that regard; previously Lawrence v. Texas, and United States v. Windsor, both established the idea of the centrality of the dignity of the human person. Lawrence mentioned it three times, while Windsor and Obergefell both referred to it ten times. Continue reading “Human Dignity, SOGI Claims, and the Obergefell Decision”