UHLC’s Frankel Lecture will examine marriage equality on basis of Equal Protection Clause

Yale professor will argue Oct. 31 that ‘original meaning’ of the 14th Amendment protects LGBT marriages


Oct. 3, 2014 – Most lawyers associate arguments grounded upon the “original meaning” of the U.S. Constitution with politically conservative, status quo-preserving interpretations.  The 19th Annual Frankel Lecture sponsored by the Houston Law Review of the University of Houston Law Center on Oct. 31 will argue that the original meaning of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires the states to recognize marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and families.

In his Frankel Lecture, titled “Marriage Equality as a Testing Ground for Original Meaning,” William N. Eskridge Jr., the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at the Yale Law School, examines the legal meaning that the term “equal protection” had acquired by 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted.   That “original meaning” was to prohibit state legislation creating or entrenching a social group as a “caste” subject to special disabilities or denied fundamental rights to contract, own property, enjoy liberty—and to marry.

His presentation, he says, “will challenge original meaning theorists (most of whom are political conservatives and no friends of the LGBT rights movement) to demonstrate the asserted neutrality of their method by applying it fairly to marriage equality issues.”

Two commentators, Nan Hunter, professor and associate dean of graduate programs at Georgetown University Law Center, and Jane Schacter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, will respond to Eskridge’s remarks.

Aaron Bruhl, associate professor of law and George Butler Research Professor at the Law Center, will serve as moderator.

The free lecture will be 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 31, at the Hilton University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, on the UH campus. Two hours of MCLE credit will be awarded to attendees.

For more information, visit HoustonLawReview.org; register by email, symposium@HoustonLawReview.org.

University of Houston Law Center Media Contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184, cacriado@central.uh.edu; John T. Kling, UH Law Center Communications Manager, 713- 743-8298, jtkling@central.uh.edu; or Stephen B. Jablonski, Multimedia Specialist, 713-743- 1634, sbjablon@central.uh.edu.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center is the leading law school in the nation's fourth-largest city. Founded in 1947, it is a top-tier institution awarding Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees. The Law Center is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

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