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Tulane Constitution Day panel to explore marriage equality

September 10, 2013

Three months after the U.S. Supreme Court issued two major rulings on marriage equality, reverberations continue as states and the federal government grapple with adjusting laws and policies.

In observance of Constitution Day, Sept. 17, Tulane Law School will host a forum on the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s June 26 actions: “Marriage Equality After Windsor: Where Are We Now?”

The 11:30 a.m. panel, which is open to the public, will feature Tulane Law Professors Catherine Hancock, Robert Westley and Saru Matambanadzo, with Law School Vice Dean Ron Scalise moderating. The event will be in the Appellate Moot Court Room, 110.

In U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it denied equal protection of the laws to same-sex couples legally married in the states where they live. While the ruling extended numerous federal protections to gay couples, the court did not say states have to recognize same-sex marriages.

That has led to various conflicts that must be resolved. For instance, the Louisiana National Guard recently said it wouldn’t follow a Pentagon policy requiring the military to honor spousal benefits for same-sex couples because the state Constitution bars gay marriage.

Hancock, the Geoffrey C. Bible & Murray H. Bring Professor of Constitutional Law, teaches First Amendment, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law and Law & Gender, and her scholarly work on constitutional issues includes areas such as privacy and hate speech.

Westley, the LOCHEF Professor of Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility, teaches Constitutional Law and is well-versed on the 14th Amendment and the rights of groups.

Matambanadzo, an Associate Professor of Law, is the author of the newest edition of West’s Sex Discrimination in a Nutshell (forthcoming 2014) and teaches Gender, Law & Public Policy as well as Law & Sexuality.

Scalise, the A.D. Freeman Professor of Civil Law, specializes in civil and comparative law.


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