17th Annual Update

Listen to the Conference


12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – 2:50 pm
Panel One: Religious Refusals & the Future of LGBT Rights

A discussion of where LGBT rights and religious exemptions clash. How are state legislatures, federal agencies, and courts grappling with the question of whether religious beliefs provide a legal justification for discriminating against members of the LGBT community?

  • Christy Mallory, Director of State and Local Policy, Williams Institute
  • Jocelyn Samuels, Executive Director, Williams Institute
  • David Codell, Constitutional & Appellate Litigator, Law Offices of David C. Codell
  • Ilan Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar for Public Policy, Williams Institute
  • Ryan Kendall, David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy J.D. candidate, UCLA School of Law
  • Akiesha Anderson, Daniel H. Renberg Law Fellow, Williams Institute (moderator)

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Panel Two: Lessons from California–Research as the Foundation for Progressive Policy





The California Legislature has long been at the forefront of leading the nation in implementing LGBTQ-affirming legislation. And Williams Institute data has long been one of the key instruments relied upon by California policymakers when drafting and passing such legislation.  This panel will discuss the ways in which research is used to inform legislation.

  • Ayako Miyashita, Adjunct Professor, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Jody Herman, Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute
  • Khush Cooper, Founder and CEO, Khush Cooper and Associates
  • Jo Michael, Legislative Manager, Equality California
  • Bianca Wilson, Rabbi Barbara Zacky Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute (moderator)

4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
Final Round of the 14th Annual Moot Court Competition

Teams from University of Pennsylvania Law School and Yale Law School compete in the final round of the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, the only moot court in the country exclusively dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity law. The teams will argue whether Title IX requires schools to allow transgender students to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity.


  • Honorable Dolly M. Gee, Federal District Court for the Central District of California
  • Honorable Luis Lavin, California Court of Appeal, Second District
  • Honorable Dean Hansell, Los Angeles Superior Court

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Keynote speakers:

  • Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney
  • Ricardo Lara, California State Senator

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Founders Council Dinner

Keynote speaker: Ted Lieu, United States Representative

Click here to learn about previous Annual Update conferences.

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