The Annual Update is the Williams Institute’s signature annual event addressing issues at the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy. Participants and audience members include academics, judges, policymakers, students, community leaders, legal and business professionals, and philanthropists. UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. By attending this event, you may earn up to 4.25 hours of general MCLE credit if you purchase a ticket.
Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law. He was educated at Harvard (B.A. 1991), Oxford (M.Sc. 1993 as a Rhodes Scholar), and Yale Law School (J.D. 1996). He taught at Yale Law School from 1998 to 2008, where he served as Deputy Dean (2005-6) and became the inaugural Guido Calabresi Professor in 2006. His fields are constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. He has received several distinctions for his teaching, most recently the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014.
Yoshino is the author of three books—Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial (2015); A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare’s Plays Teach Us About Justice (2011); and Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (2006). Yoshino has published in major academic journals, including The Harvard Law Review, The Stanford Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal. He has also written for more popular forums, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Yoshino makes regular appearances on radio and television programs, such as NPR, CNN, PBS and MSNBC. In 2015, he became a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine’s podcast and column “The Ethicists.”
In 2011, he was elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers for a six-year term. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Talent Innovation, the Board of the Brennan Center for Justice, the External Advisory Panel for Diversity and Inclusion for the World Bank Group, the Global Advisory Board for Out Leadership, and the Inclusion External Advisory Council for Deloitte.
He lives in New York City with his husband and two children.
Panel 1 – Marriage Equality: Where Are We and What Lies Ahead?
Mary L. Bonauto is a nationally renowned litigator who has been the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders since 1990. In her time there she has celebrated a number of historic and groundbreaking victories, including her involvement in Baker v. State of Vermont, which led to the nation’s first civil union law and Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which made Massachusetts the first state where same-sex couples could legally marry. She also brought the first successful challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and is currently co-counsel on the Michigan marriage case currently before the United States Supreme Court. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including most recently the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship.
Nan Hunter is Legal Scholarship Director at the Williams Institute and Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at Georgetown University Law Center. She co-authored (with William Eskridge) the law school casebook Sexuality, Gender and the Law, now in its third edition, and has published dozens of law review articles in the fields of sexuality and gender law and health law. Before beginning her teaching career, Dean Hunter founded the LGBT Rights and AIDS Projects at the national ACLU headquarters in New York. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her awards include the Pioneer of Courage award from the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the first Dan Bradley award from the National LGBT Bar Association.
Thalia Zepatos has thirty years’ experience as a community organizer, campaign manager and political consultant, focusing on building political power for underrepresented communities. She began fighting anti-LGBT ballot measures in her home state of Oregon in 1988, and has subsequently been involved in defeating dozens of other anti-gay measures in communities across the US.
Thalia is widely credited with “cracking the code” on marriage messaging, resulting in four statewide ballot wins in November, 2012 – the first-ever victories at the ballot. Her collaborative approach to message research led to the development of Why Marriage Matters – a public education partnership of over 30 state and national organizations – and Familia es Familia, a national partnership of two-dozen Latino civil rights organizations.
Zepatos is the co-author of Women for a Change: A Grassroots Guide to Activism and Politics and is the author of two travel books for women.
Douglas NeJaime is Professor of Law at UC Irvine School of Law, where he teaches in the areas of family law, law and sexuality, and constitutional law.
Before joining the UCI Law faculty in July 2013, he was Associate Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the Sears Law Teaching Fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
Professor NeJaime is a two-time recipient of the Dukeminier Award, which recognizes the best sexual orientation legal scholarship published in the previous year, and the 2011 recipient of Loyola’s Excellence in Teaching Award. NeJaime has provided commentary on issues relating to sexual orientation and same-sex marriage to numerous press outlets, including theNew York Times, L.A. Times, NPR, and NBC News. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brown University.
Panel 2 – Beyond the Marriage Debate: Research on LGBT Families
Nancy Polikoff is Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law where she teaches Family Law and a seminar on Children of LGBT Parents. From Fall 2011 through Fall 2012, she was the Visiting McDonald/Wright Chair of Law at UCLA School of Law and Faculty Chair of the Williams Institute, a national think tank on sexual orientation law and public policy at UCLA Law. In 1976, Prof. Polikoff co-authored one of the first law review articles on custody rights of lesbian mothers. For almost 40 years, she has been writing about, teaching about, and working on litigation and legislation about LGBT families. Her book, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law, was published by Beacon Press in 2008, the inaugural volume in its Queer Ideas series.
Prof. Polikoff was instrumental in the development of the legal theories that support second-parent adoption and custody and visitation rights for legally unrecognized parents. She was successful counsel in In re M.M.D., the 1995 case that established joint adoption for lesbian, gay, and unmarried couples in the District of Columbia, and Boswell v. Boswell, the 1998 Maryland case overturning restrictions on a gay noncustodial father’s visitation rights. From 2007-2009, she played a primary role in the drafting and passage of groundbreaking parentage legislation in the District of Columbia, for which she was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the DC Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.
Prof. Polikoff coordinated the legal representation of hundreds of protesters arrested in October 1987 for civil disobedience at the US Supreme Court in protest of the Court’s 1986 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick. Her article reflecting on that and other lawyering experiences, Am I My Client?: The Role Confusion of a Lawyer Activist, 31 Harv. Civ. Rts.-Civ. Lib. L. Rev 445 (1996), has been assigned in numerous law school courses.
Before joining full time academia in 1987, Prof. Polikoff co-founded the Washington, DC Feminist Law Collective and then supervised family law programs at the Women’s Legal Defense Fund (now the National Partnership on Women and Families). She is a former chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues and a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In 2011, Prof. Polikoff received the Dan Bradley award from the National LGBT Bar Association, the organization’s highest honor.
M.V. Lee Badgett is a Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute. She is also the director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a professor of economics. She studies family policy issues and labor market discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and gender. Her latest book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (NYU Press, 2009), focuses on the U.S. and European experiences with marriage equality for gay couples. She co-edited of the recent book, Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective (Routledge, 2007). Her first book, Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men (University of Chicago Press, 2001), presented her groundbreaking work debunking the myth of gay affluence. She is also the author or co-author of numerous journal articles and policy reports.
Prof. Badgett’s policy-related work includes testifying as an expert witness in legislative matters and litigation, analyzing public policies, consulting with regulatory bodies, briefing policymakers, writing op-ed pieces, speaking with journalists, and advising businesses. In 2010 she was an expert witness in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.
She is quoted regularly in newspapers across the country, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. She has appeared on television in the United States and England and on many radio shows in the United States and Europe, including NPR’s “On Point,” “Talk of the Nation,” and “Odyssey: A Daily Talk Show of Ideas,” along with CNN American Morning.
In 2008, Curve Magazine named Badgett one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia. The Advocate magazine named her one of “Our Best and Brightest Activists” in 1999 for her research and for her efforts to found the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies (now merged with the Williams Institute). She was named one of the “Out 100” by Out Magazine in 2001 for her first book.
Badgett received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1990, and has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago (1982). She has also taught at Yale University and the University of Maryland.
Nanette Gartrell, M.D., is a Williams Institute Visiting Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Gartrell also has a Guest Appointment at the University of Amsterdam, and she was previously on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and UCSF. She is a psychiatrist and researcher whose ground-breaking investigations have been published in professional journals and cited in the media. Dr. Gartrell has appeared on network television (including PBS, Good Morning America, CNN, NBC, CBS, and Fox News), and on public, talk, and Sirius satellite radio. She is the author of the bestselling “MY ANSWER IS NO—if that’s okay with you: How women can say NO with confidence.” Her articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, the Ladies Home Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor.
Dr. Gartrell is the principal researcher of the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), which since the 1980s, has been following and reporting on a cohort of planned lesbian families with children conceived through donor insemination. The NLLFS examines the social, psychological, and emotional development of the children as well as the dynamics of planned lesbian families. This is the longest-running and largest prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States. For more than a quarter century, this study has been providing information to specialists in healthcare, family services, adoption, foster care, sociology, feminist studies, education, ethics, same-sex marriage, civil union, and public policy on matters pertaining to LGBT families. The NLLFS was named one of the top 100 science stories of 2010 by Discover Magazine. In 2012, Dr. Gartrell’s work on this study was featured in a UCLA Today story, “Researcher sorts out fact from fallacy in groundbreaking study of lesbian families.”
In 2013, Dr. Gartrell was the recipient of the Association of Women Psychiatrists Presidential Commendation Award for her “selfless and enduring vision, leadership, wisdom, and mentorship in the fields of Women’s Mental Health, Ethics, and Gender Research.” In 2014, Dr. Gartrell received the Gay Lesbian Medical Association Achievement Award, and together with her spouse of 40 years, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Dr. Dee Mosbacher, was awarded the Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service award from the Legal Aid Society, Employment Law Center.
Dr. Gartrell has a private psychiatry practice, and for 13 years she volunteered her psychiatric services to chronically mentally ill homeless people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Among other honors, Dr. Gartrell has been a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues (Division 44, American Psychological Association), and named “Researcher of the Year” by the UCSF Lesbian Health Research Center.
Bianca D.M. Wilson earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Community and Prevention Research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Statistics, Methods, and Measurement. She worked at several HIV prevention community-based organizations focusing on the needs of young gay, bisexual, and questioning males. She also served on the Board of Directors of Affinity Community Services, a community-based organization for lesbian and bisexual women of African descent in Chicago.
After graduate school, Bianca completed postdoctoral training at the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies and the UCSF Lesbian Health and Research Center through an Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) postdoctoral fellowship. She also served as member and chair of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.
Bianca comes to the Williams Institute after working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. A manuscript based on her dissertation work examining sexual culture among African American lesbians was included in the International Handbook on Sexuality, Health, and Rights (P. Aggleton & R. Parker, Eds., 2010) and her theoretical work on the intersectionality among African American lesbians with regard to size, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality was included as a chapter in the Fat Studies Reader (E. Rothblum & S. Solovay, 2009), an interdisciplinary collection of scholarly work focused on the treatment of size, weight and fat in popular culture, the social sciences, and in the law.
Panel 3 – Judging Equality: Prominent Federal Judges Discuss Marriage, Racial Profiling, and Other Constitutional Controversies
Shira A. Scheindlin is a United States District Court judge on senior status for the Southern District of New York. Previously, she served as a U.S. magistrate in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York from 1982 to 1986. Scheindlin earned her juris doctorate at Cornell Law School, an M.A. at Columbia University and a B.A. at the University of Michigan.
Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw
Kim McLane Wardlaw is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Previously, she served as a United States District Court judge for the Central District of California from 1995 to 1998. Wardlaw earned her juris doctorate at the UCLA School of Law and a B.A. at UCLA.
Henry Franklin Floyd is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Previously, he served as a United States District Court judge for the District of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011. Floyd earned his juris doctorate at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and a B.A. from Wofford College.
Adam P. Romero is Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute. Previously, Romero was a senior associate at the law firm WilmerHale, where he was a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation and Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Groups. He successfully represented the plaintiffs in Cooper-Harris v. USA, the first case in the nation to declare unconstitutional laws barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the veterans-benefits context.
Romero completed clerkships for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for the Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his law degree in 2007 from Yale Law School, where he won the Kelley Prize and was a Coker Fellow, an editor of several law journals, and a student director of the Complex Federal Litigation Clinic. He received his undergraduate degree in 2002 from Cornell University, graduating summa cum laude and winning the Sherman-Bennett Prize.
Romero has published in numerous volumes and journals and is the co-editor (with Martha Albertson Fineman and Jack E. Jackson) of Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations (2009). From 2007-2008, Romero was the Peter J. Cooper fellow at the Williams Institute. Prior to law school, he was a criminal defense investigator for the Bronx Defenders.