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UC Davis Experts: Marriage rights for same-sex couples

May 31, 2013

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers laws regarding marriage of same-sex couples, the following UC Davis faculty are available to comment on various aspects.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Courtney Joslin, professor of law, is a nationally recognized expert on lesbian and gay family law issues. She is co-author of the 2012 book "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Family Law," and the 2004 book "The Rights of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender People." Joslin also co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief for the Supreme Court on behalf of more than 40 family- and child-welfare law professors in United States v. Windsor, the case challenging Section 3 of DOMA. Contact: Courtney Joslin, School of Law, (415) 902-7981, cgjoslin@ucdavis.edu.

Marriage rights for same-sex couples

Gregory Herek, a psychology professor, is an internationally recognized expert on a variety of topics related to sexual orientation, including stigma and prejudice against sexual minorities. He was an expert witness in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, in which he testified about scientific research on the nature of sexual orientation and the stigmatizing effects of Proposition 8. He was also an expert witness in Varnum v. Brien (the case that resulted in legalization of marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa) and Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act). He has been a key contributor to amicus briefs submitted by the American Psychological Association and other professional organizations in federal and state cases related to marriage equality, including the Windsor case that is now being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Contact: Gregory Herek, Psychology, gmherek@ucdavis.edu.

Same-sex marriage, "standing in federal court," the U.S. Constitution, law and the initiative process

Vikram Amar, law professor and associate dean for academic affairs, has commented on all aspects of the gay marriage legal battles for various national, regional and local media. He was one of the first, if not the first, scholars to develop the argument that the sponsors/proponents of Proposition 8 lack "standing" to defend the measure in federal court. He is a co-author of the 2013 book, “Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials” (14th ed.). Contact: Vik Amar, School of Law, (530) 752-8808, (925) 858-8855 (cell), vdamar@ucdavis.edu.

Same-sex couples and income tax

Dennis J. Ventry Jr., law professor, can comment on potential changes in income tax liabilities faced by same-sex married couples in the event the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act. The act currently restricts marriage to different-sex couples for purposes of applying federal law, including the federal income tax. Ventry’s research interests include tax expenditure analysis, legal ethics and professional standards, family taxation, tax and legal history, tax compliance and administration, and public finance. Contact: Dennis J. Ventry Jr., School of Law, (530) 752-4566 (office), (949) 433-4292 (cell), djventry@ucdavis.edu.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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