In recent years, political and legal developments have put two successful civil rights movements in direct conflict with each other. In 2015, the Supreme Court affirmed a Constitutional right to gay marriage in its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Further, over the last several years, numerous state and local governments have continued to pass laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. During the same period, however, in its decision in Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court also affirmed the rights of shareholders in some corporations to avoid enforcement of laws that they claim contradict their religious beliefs. In addition, a number of states have passed Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that could allow businesses to refuse to comply with gay rights ordinances on religious grounds.
This event will address the legal and ethical implications of the conflict between reproductive and gay rights, on the one hand, and religious freedom, on the other, as it plays out in the commercial world. First, we will host a debate between Gregory Baylor, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Gregory Lipper, Partner, Clinton Brook & Peed; former Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State. We will then hear a panel of academics and practitioners who will dig more deeply into the issues that arise when the newfound protections for gay rights collide with the reemerging movement for religious liberty.