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Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution

Mark P. Strasser, J.D. Trustees Professor of Law at Capital University Law School

George W. Dent, Jr., J.D. Schott-Van Den Eyden Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law

September 15, 2011

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress in 1996, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. As a result, same-sex couples are barred from receiving federal benefits conferred upon married couples, and no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages granted by another state.

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama Administration had determined DOMA to be unconstitutional, and that the Justice Department would no longer provide legal defense for the law. Meanwhile, many states have adopted measures designed to forbid same-sex marriage. This year’s Constitution Day program will examine the issues raised by DOMA, state regulations, civil unions, polygamy, and other constitutional issues related to marriage.

The program includes opposing perspectives from the speakers, questions from a student panel, and Q&A with the audience. It aims to encourage a thoughtful exchange of ideas.

More About Our Guests

George W. Dent, J.D. (Columbia), LL.M. (NYU), taught law at NYU, Yeshiva, and NY Law School before joining the CWRU faculty in 1990. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation and has written extensively on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Mark P. Strasser, J.D. (Stanford), Ph.D. (Chicago), is recognized nationally and internationally as the author of books, such as Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and the Rule of Law, and numerous articles on related subjects.