NOVEMBER 16, 2017
WILLIAMS A newsletter from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law
Research for Tumultuous Times BY JOCELYN SAMUELS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR I am so honored to send you this message as the new Executive Director of the Williams Institute. The rigorous, impactful work of the Institute could not be more necessary in these tumultuous times, and we remain committed to conducting the sophisticated research and data analysis that meaningfully inform law and policy affecting millions of LGBT individuals and their families. Our work has never been more critical. We continue to do the rigorous research for which we are so justifiably known—research that provides an evidence-based foundation for policy making and court decisions in areas that range from interventions to address poverty to the costs of failures to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people. Since January, moreover, we have been hard at work analyzing and responding to federal efforts to roll back protections previously accorded to LGBT individuals—from the ban on transgender service members to the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. >>
14 January 2018
Jazz & Champagne Brunch Beverly Hills, CA
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NOVEMBER 16, 2017
Tumultuous Times And last month, we filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, a baker in Colorado refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, claiming that his religious objections to same-sex marriage, and his free speech rights to design cakes as he chooses, should exempt him from complying with Colorado's nondiscrimination law. Some might think that this case is just about a wedding cake and that the couple should just find another bakery. But make no mistake, this case concerns nothing less than whether the Supreme Court will affirm the fundamental human dignity—and right to equal access to the benefits of American society—of same-sex couples. The consequences of an adverse decision would be profound, potentially authorizing businesses across the country to pick and choose whom they serve (or employ or rent apartments to) based on their personal religious beliefs. Such a ruling would turn the fundamental promise of the civil rights laws on its head. Our amicus brief—drafted with the invaluable pro bono assistance of the law firm of Paul Hastings— demonstrates that refusals of service subject LGBT individuals to substantial and enduring dignitary harm. Using pioneering research of Institute scholars, the brief lays out the consequences for our mental and physical well-being that follow from the kinds of adverse treatment and stigma exemplified by this baker’s conduct. Our brief makes clear that, far from being just a spat about a cake, this case is about ensuring respect for the fundamental dignity of all individuals—no matter whom they love—and vindicating our democracy’s stillunfulfilled pledge that all are created equal.
We could not do this critical work without your generous support, and I am immensely grateful to all of you for your commitment to the Institute and to the goals we all share. The Williams Institute is uniquely situated to help address the challenges our community faces, and I know that the future is brighter because of the efforts we make together. I look forward to our continued partnership.
OUT AND ABOUT SCENES FROM OUR RECENT EVENTS
LGBT & Allies Alumni Reception LOS ANGELES
From left, Jocelyn Samuels, Calif. State Senator Ricardo Lara and Sarah Truby, Keck Medicine of USC
NYC Fall Reception Honoring Edie Windsor NEW YORK
number of times Williams Institute scholars were cited in Masterpiece Cakeshop amicus b