Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Symposium: "The New "Illegitimacy: Revisiting Why Parentage Should Not Depend on Marriage"

Presented by the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law and the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Friday, March 25, 2011 (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)

Saturday, March 26, 2011 (9:30 AM – NOON)

American University Washington College of Law, Room 603

4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

It is an axiom of modern family law: children should not suffer as a result of being born to unmarried parents. This principle, however, is under attack. In some states, including New York and Massachusetts, children born to lesbian couples find that their status depends upon whether their parents are married (or in a civil union). But courts must extend to the children of same-sex couples the well-established tenet that the law should not discriminate against children born outside marriage. It is also distressing that some support for access to marriage for same-sex couples relies on disparaging "illegitimate" children. Arguing that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry to prevent the "illegitimacy" of their children flips on its head the modern understanding that neither law nor society should penalize children of unmarried parents. This conference will address the issues raised by recent developments privileging the children of married parents.   Presenters will include:


Susan Appleton, Lemma Barkeloo and Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law

Nicholas Bala, Professor of Law, Queen’s University Faculty of Law(Canada)

Carlos Ball, Professor of Law and Judge Frederick Lacey Scholar, Rutgers School of Law-Newark

Cynthia Bowman, Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School

Sacha Coupet, Assistant Professor and Director of Research, Civitas ChildLaw Center, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Katherine Franke, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School

Joanna Grossman, Professor of Law and John DeWitt Gregory Research Scholar, Hofstra University School of Law

Leslie Harris, Dorothy Kliks Fones Professor, University of Oregon School of Law

Melanie Jacobs, Associate Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law

Courtney Joslin, Acting Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law

Solangel Maldonado, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law

Serena Mayeri, Assistant Professor of Law and History, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Nancy Polikoff, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law

Julie Shapiro, Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law

Catherine Smith, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness, University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Dean Spade, Assistant Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law

Richard Storrow, Professor of Law, City University of New York School of Law

Tanya Washington, Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law

Registration is free but required – please go to

For further information, contactOffice of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education, 202.274.4075 or


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