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YLS to Host Symposium on Same-Sex Marriage

Yale Law School will host a discussion of the national same-sex marriage debate through "Breaking with Tradition: New Frontiers for Same Sex Marriage," a symposium scheduled to take place March 4-5.

Scholars, practitioners, and activists will discuss a wide range of issues, from the political valence of same-sex marriage for both its proponents and opponents to the role of federalism in shaping the debate.

The event is free for Yale University students, faculty and affiliates as well as their domestic partners or spouses, with a $25 registration fee for non-university attendees. Pre-registration is required for all attendees.

(To register or for more information, including a complete symposium agenda, visit the conference website.)

The recent controversy surrounding same-sex marriage has prompted examination of both the queer civil rights movement and traditional conceptions of marriage. The symposium will assemble a national cross-section of scholars, practitioners, activists and law students from diverse backgrounds and positions to generate informed debate of the key issues surrounding same-sex marriage. Experts from Yale Law School, Harvard University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, New York University, Brigham Young University, Dartmouth College, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are confirmed presenters for the event.

"The Breaking With Tradition symposium is an ideal place to take stock in the national same-sex marriage movement," said Jason J. Smith, a current Yale Law student, and one of the coordinators for the event. "Our goal is to engage discussion on how same-sex marriage advocates can best move forward from a grassroots, regional, and national level."

The conference will open on Friday, March 4, at 5:00 p.m. with a panel discussion of what is at stake in the same-sex marriage debate, moderated by Ed Stein, Cardozo Law School professor. The symposium's keynote speaker Jon W. Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal, will speak on March 5 at 4:30 p.m. Known for his litigation successes in protecting the rights of LGBT persons and those with HIV, Davidson will discuss the future of same-sex marriage, and how it may unfold through litigation and legislative reform.

Panels throughout the day on Saturday, March 5 will respond to key questions: How do notions of same sex marriage manifest for people of different races and genders, and how does religion inform these perceptions? How should the government be involved in structuring/regulating relationships of intimacy and dependence? How have other nations responded to the issue of same-sex marriages, and what lessons can the U.S. learn from their experiences?