This course will examine legal doctrines and policies concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. With litigation and policy debates raging at all levels of federal and state judiciaries and governments, seldom has there been such a compelling opportunity to study an area of American law as it evolves in real time. Major topics will include case law, statutes, and current litigation concerning marriage, adoption, military service, discrimination, and freedom of speech and expression as they affect gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. Although the course will be primarily organized around case law, it will also include readings and discussion on a variety of related questions of politics and legal theory. For example: What are the pros and cons of legislative versus judicial strategies for seeking social change? Should law regulate private as well as government discrimination? How should the law resolve tensions between equality and religious belief? What are the appropriate spheres of state vs. federal government on questions of family law?
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