Williams Institute Featured in UCLA Law Magazine
Williams Institute Hosts 11th Annual Update “Fair Play?”
Conference addresses LGBT civic participation and political process
In April, the Williams Institute held its 11th Annual Update, “Fair Play? LGBT People, Civic Participation & the Political
Process.” Increasingly, LGBT people participate openly in every branch of government, as elected officials and judges as well as voters and jurors. However, research shows that the LGBT community still faces considerable challenges due to prejudice and discrimination. This year’s conference evaluated the progress LGBT people have made, and the barriers to full civic participation that remain.
Expert panels examined emerging trends in public opinion about issues affecting LGBT people, such as employment discrimination, marriage and adoption. Panelists discussed an increase in LGBT visibility in the courthouses and the effect on judges and jurors, as well as ballot initiatives and LGBT rights.
In his opening keynote address, U.S. Census Director Robert Groves spoke on the unprecedented outreach to the LGBT community during the 2010 Census count, which— for the first time—reported same-sex couples who identified as spouses. The Williams Institute collaborated with the Census Bureau in doing this outreach and provided research and analysis that supported the reporting of same-sex spouses. The institute continues to be the leading research center in the country analyzing Census data about same-sex couples.
In a closing keynote address, Civil Rights Law Expert and NYU Law Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law Kenji Yoshino addressed the question of whether LGBT people are equal participants in the political process or are still relegated to second class citizenship by discrimination and bias.
UCLA Law Team Wins Williams Institute Moot Court Competition
This year, UCLA Law hosted the Eighth Annual Williams Institute Moot Court Competition. A record thirty-eight teams from law schools across the country competed in the only national competition dedicated exclusively to the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity law. With Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham, City of Houston Municipal Courts Associate Judge Phyllis R. Frye and United States District Court Central District of California Former
Judge George P. Schiavelli presiding, the final two teams argued privacy versus disclosure issues in ballot issue campaigns, and claims of judicial bias based on gay identity. UCLA Law’s team consisting of Evan Woolley ’12 and Jason Pang ’13 prevailed.
Afterward, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg delivered special remarks at the Williams Institute Annual Gala Reception.
Williams Institute Releases 2010 Census Snapshot of the LGBT Community
Data show 20% of same-sex couples identify as spouses
According to analysis by the Williams Institute, data from the 2010 Decennial Census revealed that 132,000 (20%) of the nearly 650,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. identify as spouses. More than one in six same-sex couples (17%) are raising children, with childrearing more common among couples who identified as spouses (31%) compared to unmarried
Led by Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates, the Williams Institute has been the leader in the dissemination and analysis of U.S. Census data on the LGBT community. Census Snapshots are published for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., providing demographic and geographic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children. The reports continue to be a critical resource for informing the many national, state and local debates about LGBT rights.
Williams Institute Research Cited in Ninth Circuit Decision To Overturn Prop. 8
In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8, which enacted a ban on marriage for same-sex couples in California, was unconstitutional. Williams Institute research was cited in the opinion. Specifically cited was the report, Marriage, Registration and Dissolution by Same-Sex Couples in the U.S., which found that approximately 18,000 same-sex couples married in the state prior to Proposition 8 and 48,157 couples entered registered domestic partnerships during the same time.
Researchers at the Williams Institute Examine LGBT Youth Homelessness
In the summer of 2012, the Williams Institute published a report on LGBT youth homelessness. During the past 10 years, the percentage of homeless youth providers serving LGBT clients has increased from 82% to 94%, with providers indicating that 40% of their clients identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Nearly seven in 10 respondents indicated that family rejection was a major factor contributing to LGBT youth homelessness, making it the most cited factor. More than half (54%) of respondents indicated that abuse in their family was another important factor contributing to LGBT homelessness. Additionally, more than 75% of responding agencies reported working with transgender youth in the past year. Findings from the survey demonstrated that many LGBT youth are at high risk of homelessness, often as a result of family rejection and abuse.
Williams Institute Launches New Research Initiative on LGBT International Issues
New LL.M. specialization will focus on LGBTand international human rights issues
This past year, the Williams Institute greatly expanded its research on international LGBT law and policy issues.
Examples of this work include providing research support for litigation challenging India’s sodomy law and studies to counter myths and stereotypes included in proposed legislation in Uganda that would severely criminalize homosexuality, including the death penalty.
In addition, the Williams Institute submitted a memorandum to the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional
Affairs Committee that concluded that Australia’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill would boost the country’s economy by $161 million over three years. The Williams Institute also co-sponsored a historic high-level conference between countries in the Balkans, the European Commission and the Council of Europe to discuss measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Balkans. Former Williams Institute Visiting Scholar and adviser to the Prime Minister of Montenegro on human rights Jovan Kojicic served as the principal organizer of the conference.
In the upcoming year, the Williams Institute will launch a new LL.M. specialization focused on LGBT issues and international human rights. The institute has submitted grant proposals to study the economic impacts of LGBT-related policies on developing economies, and to develop questions to measure the size of the LGBT population in Southeast Asia.
Williams Institute Welcomes New Researchers
The Williams Institute welcomes new Senior Scholar of Public Policy Scott Barclay, who will focus on LGBT public
opinion-related research, and Public Opinion Project Director Andrew R. Flores, who will launch a new research
project on public opinion data and research related to LGBT people and issues.
Scott Barclay is the head of the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University. From 2009 through 2011, he was a program director for the Law and Social Science Program at the National Science Foundation. Scott received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University and he completed his undergraduate degree in Australia. His current research project explores the interplay of political, demographic, cultural and social movement factors that influence legislative and judicial action around lesbian and gay rights since 1971.
Andrew Flores is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California at Riverside, where he earned an M.A. in Political Science. While at UC Riverside, Andrew was a Eugene Cota-Robles and Graduate Research Mentorship Program fellow; he and a co-author also received an award from the Pacific Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. His research includes questions of gays and lesbians in the American democratic process, from intra-group politics and public opinion to representation.
Seventh Williams Institute Law Fellow placed in U.S. Law School tenure-track position to teach Sexuality Law
Michael Boucai, 2012 Sears law teaching fellow, will begin his position as associate professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School. In addition to Sexuality and the Law, Professor Boucai will teach courses in criminal law and family law.
The Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellowship program is designed to support new scholars interested in teaching and researching sexual orientation and gender identity law. During the two year fellowship, fellows have an opportunity to write a law review article, teach courses on sexual orientation law and work closely with Williams Institute faculty and staff. The Sears Law Teaching Fellowship was made possible through Michael Boucai generous endowment gifts by Jim Hooker and Chuck Williams.
*Article originally published in the UCLA LAW MAGAZINE, Fall 2012, Volume 35, No. 1