Kees Waaldijk, McDonald/Wright Chair of Law & Visiting Professor of Law

Waaldijk-KeesKees Waaldijk is a distinguished LGBT legal scholar best known for comparative law projects focusing on LGBT legal rights, the legal recognition of same-sex couples, and anti-discrimination protections.  As of Spring 2011, Waaldijk is the inaugural Chair of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law at Leiden Law School in the Netherlands.  He cultivates an international network of scholars and practitioners interested in LGBT law and his work bridges traditional legal research and empirical research, making him an excellent fit for the Williams Institute’s interdisciplinary focus and growing international presence. During the 2014 Spring semester he is the Institute’s McDonald/Wright Chair of Law, teaching a course on Comparative Sexual Orientation Law at UCLA School of Law.

Waaldijk obtained his Master’s Degree in Law at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  From 1982 until 1995 he taught Public Law and Legal Skills at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, where in 1994 he obtained his Doctoral Degree.  Since 1996, he has taught at Leiden University, where he is currently a professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law.  From 1987 until 1998 he was also a researcher and adjunct professor at the University of Utrecht (in the Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies, and later at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights).  He has been teaching courses on Sexual Orientation Law, as well as  in Legislative Drafting and in Family Law, at various universities.

In 1989 Waaldijk spent a year in the United Kingdom, first as a senior visiting research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and then teaching British Constitutional Law at the University of Lancaster.  In 2000 he was a visiting professor at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he taught the course Human Rights Law in Europe.  From  2000 to  2011 Waaldijk was Head of PhD Studies at Leiden Law School, advizing  on matters relating to the PhD candidates and their training, monitoring progress of PhD research, and teaching on research methodology in law.

Waaldijk has been an adviser on law & sexual orientation to numerous individuals, organizations, lawyers and politicians, and has had an active role in several test cases and legislative lobbies. He was a member of the Dutch Government’s Commission of legal experts advising on the opening up of civil marriage to same-sex couples (1996/97), and a member of the Dutch Council for Family Affairs (1994/99).  From 1999 to 2007 he was one of the editors of the annual collection of opinions of the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission.  He has been an advisor on evaluation studies commissioned by the Dutch government about the workings of the General Equal Treatment Act (1999), the Law on Registered Partnership (1999 and 2006), and the Law on the Opening Up of Marriage to same-sex couples (2006).

Waaldijk is a founding member of the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law.  He was in charge of a study for the European Union on legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in employment (2002-2004), which led to the book Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the European Union: National Laws and the Employment Equality Directive (co-authored with Matteo Bonini-Baraldi).   In 2009 Kees was shortlisted for the Dutch Government’s bi-annual prize for LGBT emancipation.

With funding from the European Union (FP7), he is now in charge of a comparative research project on the legal content of family formats available to same-sex and/or different-sex couples. And since 2011 he is an adviser to the annual report on State-Sponsored Homophobia of the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association.

His work has not only been published in English and Dutch, but also in French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Chinese and Vietnamese. His publications include articles on the opening up of marriage and on the gradual legal recognition of homosexual orientation in international and comparative law, and books on European sexual orientation law. Most recently he published The Right to Relate – A lecture on the Importance of “Orientation” in Comparative Sexual Orientation Law (24 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law 161-199 (2013), also published in Vietnamese.