Lead Counsel for Proposition 8 Appeal Keynotes Marriage Equality Conference
Event Date: Thursday, March 19



WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 2009 – Washington College of Law’s Program on Law and Government presents “’Til Ballot Initiative Do Us Part: Marriage Equality, Religion and Civil Rights,” Thursday, March 19, 4 – 8 p.m., American University Washington College of Law (4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington).

OnElection Day 2008, voters inArizona, California, and Florida passedballot initiatives amending their state constitutions to recognize as civil marriages only unions between one man and one woman, joining 26 other states with similar amendments.Some commentators pointed to exit pollsand surveys purporting to show that African-Americans, Latinos/as, and adherents to conservative religious traditions supported these antigay initiatives at significantly higher rates than other communities.

This program features an opening keynote speech from Shannon Minter, lead counsel for California marriage cases including the Proposition 8 appeal, and panel discussions with nationally prominentreligious, media, and legal figuresto discuss the following:

  • Were the exit polls and surveys showing a marked difference in support for marriageequality betweenwhite and of-color communities accurate?
  • What else did the exit polls and survey results show that the media failed to report?
  • What role should religion play in thedebatearoundcivil marriage rights for gay Americans?
  • Why is implying an analogy between the gay rights and the African-American civil rights movements the source of tension?
  • Can fair parallels be drawn between the antigay marriage bans and the anti-miscegenation laws struck down by 1967's Loving v. VA?
  • What do these election results teach us about thepros and cons ofballot initiatives as a means of amending state constitutions?

Full Conference Schedule

4:00 pm                Keynote Address : Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights; Lead Counsel, California Marriage Cases and Prop 8 Appeal

4:45 pm                What Happened on November 4th?The Confluence of Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Politics at the Ballot Box

  • Professor Helen Alvaré, George Mason University School of Law
  • Professor Mary Frances Berry (invited), Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania; Former Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Rev. Derek McCoy, Assoc. Pastor, Hope Christian Church (Beltsville, MD), and CA Yes on 8 Outreach Director (for Family Research Council)
  • Rev. Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-MD) (invited), Maryland State Senator andBishop, Ark of Safety Christian Church
  • Sen. Jamin Raskin (D-MD), Maryland State Senator and Professor of Law, AmericanUniversity Washington College of Law
  • Lara Schwartz, Legal Director and ChiefLegislative Counsel, Human Rights Campaign
  • Moderator: Professor Angela J. Davis, American University Washington College of Law

6:30 pm                Moving Forward: The Political, Legislative and Cultural Outlookfor the LGBT Civil Rights Movement

  • Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post Editorial Board
  • Jasper Hendricks, Director of Field Operations and Political Programs, National Black Justice Coalition
  • Professor Darren Hutchinson, American University Washington College of Law
  • Richard Kim, Senior Editor, The Nation
  • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Nagley, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Bethesda, MD
  • Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
  • Moderator: Professor Tony Varona, American University Washington College of Law; GLAAD National Board of Directors Member

8:00 pm                Adjourn