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4. Human Dignity And Its Role In The Equality Jurisprudence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses three things. First, it traces the developments of equality jurisprudence in Canada and South Africa through a series of landmark cases decided under the dignity-based approach. Secondly, in view of the haphazard way in which dignity is interpreted and the opposition from critics of the Canadian approach, the author questions the basis upon which the courts relied on in declaring that excluding same-sex couples from marriage violates equality because of the impairment to their dignity. Lastly, despite various criticisms, author observes that the dignity based equality doctrine retains its appeal particularly in the South African context. The suggestion for forming a culture of reason for a society in moral flux has re-kindled the idea of "deliberative democracy". The Constitutional Court of South Africa demonstrated a similar tendency in its decision to uphold the right to same-sex marriage.

Keywords: Canada; deliberative democracy; equality jurisprudence; same-sex marriage; South Africa



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