Dukeminier Awards Journal
Recognizing the Best Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law Review Articles of 2017
Previous Issue: Volume 16 (2017)
Courtney Cahill, Donald Hinkle Professor, Florida State University College of Law School, awarded the Michael Cunningham Prize for The Oedipus Hex: Regulating Family After Marriage Equality, 49 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 183 (2015).
Alternative reproduction has become the new frontier in the continuing culture wars over the family. Prominent marriage traditionalists are turning their attention from same-sex marriage to it, arguing that the time has come to stop obsessing over marriage between same-sex partners and to start taking a more critical look at the ways in which they — and many others — reproduce. Even as one culture war makes way for another, however, there is something that binds them: a desire to establish the family. This Article’s focus is on a problematic manifestation of that desire: the incest prevention justification, a leading argument offered in defense of radical reform of alternative reproduction law and one that hearkens back in troubling ways to a taboo long used in American law to discipline the family.
Danaya C. Wright, Clarence J. TeSelle Endowed Professor, University of Florida Levin College of Law, awarded the Stu Walter Prize for Inheritance Equity: Reforming the Inheritance Penalties Facing Children in Nontraditional Families, 25 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol’y, 1 (2015).
This Article examines how more than 50% of children living today may be disadvantaged by 1950s era inheritance laws that privilege and protect only those children living in nuclear families with their biological parents. Because so many children today are living in blended families—single-parent families, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) families, or are living with relatives—their right to inherit from the persons who function as their parents is severely limited by most state probate codes, even though they would likely be entitled to child support under the parent-child definitions of most of those states’ family law codes.
Lily Kahng, Professor of Law, Seattle University Law School, awarded the Ezekiel Webber Prize for The Not-So-Merry Wives of Windsor: The Taxation of Women in Same-Sex Marriages, 101 Cornell L Rev. 325 (2016).
In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act definition of marriage as “between one man and one woman,” heralding its subsequent recognition, in Obergefell v. Hodges, of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Windsor cleared the way for same-sex couples to be treated as married under federal tax laws, and the Obama administration promptly announced that it would recognize same-sex marriages for tax purposes. Academics, policymakers, and activists lauded these developments as finally achieving tax equality between same- and different-sex married couples. This Article argues that the claimed tax equality of Windsor is illusory and that the only way to achieve actual equality is to eliminate taxation on the basis of marital status.
The Dukeminier Awards also recognizes this year’s winner of the Williams Institute’s annual student writing competition:
Jessica Troisi Franey, UCLA School of Law awarded the Jeffrey S. Haber Prize for student scholarship for Dependency Is Different: Why Religious Accommodations in Agency Adoptions Violate the Constitutional Rights of Same-Sex Families and Foster Youth
In June of 2015, the Michigan state legislature enacted Michigan House Bill 4189, which allows a private child welfare agency to withhold adoption services if providing those services would conflict with the agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs. The bill further prohibits state agencies from taking adverse action against any private child welfare agency that engages in discrimination based on its professed beliefs, including an agency that benefits from government contracts or receives federal funding. Controversy has ensued over the bill’s permissive language, which puts Michigan’s 3,300 foster children at risk.
The Williams Institute would like to thank Jeffrey S. Haber, Brondi Borer, Stu Walter, Chuck Williams, and the family and friends of Ezekiel “Zeke” Webber for their endowment gifts to fund individual prizes recognizing outstanding scholarship related to sexual orientation and gender identity law.