Widener Law Professor to Discuss Rights of Same-Sex Couples

John Culhane, Professor of Law at Widener University, will discuss legal rights of same-sex couples on March 25 at 4:30 p.m. in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center’s Lenfest Theater. A book signing will follow the talk.

"Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies"

"Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies" by John Culhane and Carrie Stone

Professor Culhane will discuss the recent history of the movement for marriage equality and related rights for same-sex couples. He brings an extensive and impressive professional background to the topic.

The national debate over whether same-sex couples should be able to marry has gained urgency recently. This past Election Day, voters in three states became the first to grant same-sex marriage rights at the ballot box. Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases involving marriage equality. The first involves Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman for federal purposes; thus, even if a same-sex couple is married in their home state, that marriage won’t be recognized federally. The second involves a challenge to Prop 8, by which California voters took away the right of same-sex couples to marry, a right that the California Supreme Court had declared was fundamental.

Culhane has been involved in the debates over both of these cases, and in the broader discussion of how the advance of same-sex marriage has also made us think about the state’s recognition, protection, and privileging of relationships more generally. Topics of his talk will include:

  • The evolution of the marriage equality debate
  • The upcoming Supreme Court decisions (what’s at stake, and what’s likely to happen)
  • How the debate has spilled into the broader question of state recognition of relationships, with special focus on the civil union

Professor Culhane is co-author of Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies, a contributing writer for Slate Magazine, the editor and a contributor to “Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates: A Public Health Perspective,” and the author of more than 30 law review articles on a wide range of topics, including: the rights of LGBT couples; compensation of victims of mass disasters; the public health implications of such disparate issues as sports-related concussions, bullying, same-sex marriages, gun policy, and vaccine compensation policy; and a range of tort law issues.

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