Changing Marriage Laws to Be Topic of U.Va. Panel on Sept. 11

September 04, 2013

What impact will the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor make on the future of same-sex marriage, especially in Virginia?

The University of Virginia will host a panel discussion about the topic Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. in Newcomb Hall Ballroom. “After Windsor: Changing Marriage Laws in the USA” will cover “Part 1: The Prospects for Same-Sex Marriage in Virginia.” The panelists will include U.Va. law professor Kerry Abrams; Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia; and James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide advocacy, outreach and education organization for LGBT Virginians. Allen Groves, U.Va.’s dean of students, will moderate the discussion, which is free and open to the public.

“The Windsor case was decided in June 2013, after U.Va. spring classes were over, so this will be the first formal discussion at U.Va. of this major decision and its implications for Virginians,” said Charlotte Patterson, psychology professor and director of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Program in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Virginia passed an amendment recognizing only marriage between one man and one woman in 2006 and prohibits creating any legal status to cover domestic partner benefits.

Abrams pointed out, however, “Windsor did not address the issue of whether state law bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but much of the rationale of the case could be used to support an argument that they are.”

The event is the first in a series of lectures and panels on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues, underwritten by a gift from Bernard Mayes, a retired University faculty member, and cosponsored by the U.Va. LGBTQ Center and the School of Law

Other scheduled events will include a Sept. 23 lecture on “Mental Health Issues Among LGBT Youth” by Anthony R. D’Augelli, professor of human development at Pennsylvania State University, and Part 2 of “After Windsor,” to take place in February, in which legal experts will discuss the significance of the Windsor decision for the long-term growth of law in the U.S. 

“The series is a natural outgrowth of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Program’s concern with the role of gender and sexuality in shaping lives, and it offers an exciting example of how collaborative efforts between the College of Arts & Sciences, the Law School and other units can enhance intellectual life at the University,” Patterson said.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications