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Understanding Human Dignity$
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Christopher McCrudden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265642

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 22 September 2019

Dignity and Disgrace: Moral Citizenship and Constitutional Protection

Dignity and Disgrace: Moral Citizenship and Constitutional Protection

Chapter:
(p.467) 27 Dignity and Disgrace: Moral Citizenship and Constitutional Protection
Source:
Understanding Human Dignity
Author(s):

Edwin Cameron

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265642.003.0027

Apartheid’s race discrimination branded blacks inferior, leaving a residue of indignity that was perceived and experienced as shameful. This explains the pivotal significance of dignity in the South African Constitution. Hence the Constitutional Court has created a normative framework for South Africans to assert personhood without the shameful stigmata of past subordination. The Court’s strong protection of sexual orientation is best understood against this backdrop. While there is no ready comparison between race and sexual orientation discrimination, both brand those they subordinate as inferior and thus as the objects of shame. The Court’s jurisprudence on gays and lesbians has, therefore, afforded equality, but also addressed the shameful subordination of the past by enabling gays and lesbians to assert themselves as equal moral citizens who can fulfil their capacities as humans without shame.

Keywords:   dignity, equality, sexual orientation, marriage, gays and lesbians

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