Legal, Secular, and Religious
Marriage Equality/Marriage Protection/Same-Sex
Host: The Journal of Civil Rights and Economic
Date: Friday, November 12, 2010
Location: St. John’s University School of Law,
Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development is the
official publication of the Ronald
H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at
St. John’s School of Law, the Law School’s oldest academic center.
For 17 years, the Journal has held important academic symposia on a
wide array of legally significant social justice issues, such as
environmental racism, domestic violence, the impact of the economic
downturn on the New York City economy and the issues of race and
gender in the 2008 presidential election.
On November 12, 2010, the Journal will hold a symposium devoted
to the issues of marriage equality, marriage protection and
same-sex marriage. Given that the Journal focuses on legal issues
of racial, social and economic justice and is situated in a
Catholic law school, it is well-positioned to present an in-depth
discussion and have a full academic inquiry into the legal, secular
and religious dimensions of these issues.
Marriage has traditionally been defined as a relationship
between one man and one woman. Indeed, same-sex sexual
activity and same-sex marriage are contrary to the teachings of
most religious institutions and traditions. While the Catholic
Church is opposed to the particular acts associated with
homosexuality, these beliefs are not equated with the person per
se, focusing instead on the “Original Unity of Man and Woman” and
the relationship between marriage and procreation.
In the United States and elsewhere, the legal, social and
religious status of LGBT individuals has been evolving. For
instance, in Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court held state
laws that criminalized same-sex sexual activity between consenting
adults unconstitutional. Several states and the District of
Columbia have recognized same-sex unions either through judicial
decisions under state constitutional law or through the legislative
process. These changes in the traditional notions of marriage have
met with resistance, including state ballot initiatives.
The legalization of same-sex marriage has numerous legal,
political, social, religious and secular implications. We invite
you to participate in a multi-disciplinary exploration of this
important topic that promises to be thoughtful, intellectually
rigorous and provocative. We welcome a broad range of participants
to share a variety of perspectives at the symposium, including
scholars, practitioners, elected officials, activists, community
leaders and students. We are especially interested in the
constitutional, religious, political and other unique legal issues
relating to marriage equality, marriage protection and same-sex
marriage. We also encourage analyses focusing on the intersection
of other gay civil rights issues and the specific issue of marriage
equality, marriage protection and same-sex marriage.
Paper or panel topics should address the following areas of
- In the state courts that have recognized or rejected the
validity of same-sex marriage, are there common constitutional
themes or trends in areas of equal protection, due process, or the
right of privacy?
- How do the religious tenets of the major faith traditions bear
upon the issue of same-sex marriage?
- Does the U.S.’s strong tradition of separation of church and
state affect the ability of federal and state judiciaries to
balance the legal protections of same-sex partners, while
respecting the religious traditions of faith communities?
- What has been the evolution of LGBT civil rights in the U.S.?
Abstracts should focus on the following issues: (1) the
invalidation of anti-sodomy legislation; (2) employment
discrimination legislation; (3) anti-hate-crime legislation; (4)
the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and (5) any other
issues dealing with LGBT civil rights.
- Do prohibitions against same-sex marriage violate the equal
protection clause of the U.S. Constitution?
- Do the federal and state DOMA proposals violate the full faith
and credit clause or other provisions of the U.S.
- How can the traditional notions of marriage (i.e., between a
man and a woman) harmonize with the movement towards same-sex
- How does the doctrine of states’ rights bear upon the same-sex
- What are the rights and limitations when state legislatures or
the public through state referenda decide the legality of same-sex
- Are domestic partnerships constitutionally sufficient to
satisfy equal protection goals at the federal and state
levels? In states that do not recognize same-sex marriage or
domestic partnerships, are contracts negotiated between same-sex
partners sufficient legal protection for same-sex
- Did African American and Latino/a and Hispanic voters influence
election outcomes in the 2004 general elections and the 2008 vote
on Proposition 8 (California Marriage Protection Act) based on
their negative reactions to the issue of marriage equality, as
some commentators have suggested? Are
these voters more likely to vote in favor of
marriage protection in larger percentages than white and Asian
American voters? What is the relationship between racial minorities
and the LGBT community on the issue of Marriage Equality/Marriage
Protection/Same Sex Marriage?
- How have the media covered the discussion and debate over
same-sex marriage/ marriage equality/marriage protection? What
stereotypes have the media fostered or dismantled about the legal
and religious issues and the advocates on each side of the debate
If you would like to participate on a panel or speak at the
symposium, please submit an abstract of 250 words or less through
abstract submission form or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The abstract submission deadline is August 25, 2010. We will notify
all selected panelists and speakers by September 15, 2010. After
the symposium, participants can submit an article to be selected
for publication in the Journal of Civil Rights of Economic
For more information on the symposium or its call for papers,
please contact Brendan Lantry, Research and Symposium Editor for
the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, at email@example.com
or (718) 990-6074.