I don’t think you know what it means

As I was reading one article after another about the dissenting opinions of the Justices in Obergefell v. Hodges, I came across this statement by Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent:

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Justice Clarence Thomas Obergefell v. Hodges

And I just kept thinking,


If one Googles the word dignity, you come up with, as the first result:

the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. “a man of dignity and unbending principle”
  • a composed or serious manner or style.
    “he bowed with great dignity”
    synonyms: stateliness, nobility, majesty, regality, courtliness, augustness,loftiness, lordliness, grandeur


  • a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect.
    “it was beneath his dignity to shout”
    synonyms: self-respect, pride, self-esteem, self-worth


    “he had lost his dignity”

Here is the thing: there is being able to feel your own dignity and believing your dignity should never and can never be taken away, there’s having society recognize your dignity and seeing you as a person worthy of the respect their humanity grants them.

Nearly all humans are worthy of honor and respect and should take pride in themselves for whomever he or she is. But it is very difficult to do so when society is telling you that who you are isn’t equal and shouldn’t be treated the same as others. I’m sorry to inform you, Clarence Thomas, but I can believe all day long that I deserve to be treated with honor and respect, but society still has to grant me that dignity.

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