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Professor Participates in Georgetown Marriage Panel

February 12, 2007

Rena M. Lindevaldsen, Assistant Professor of Law and Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Litigation and Policy, recently participated in a marriage panel discussion at Georgetown University. The discussion titled, “The Battle over Marriage: Should Same-Sex Couples be Allowed to Marry and Should the Court Decide?” was moderated by Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett.

The event was held at Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) and co-sponsored by OutLaw, American Constitution Society, GULC Democrats, GULC Republicans, and Moral Values Project. The panel included Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council (FRC); Marty Rouse, Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Matt Coles, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); and Professor Rena Lindevaldsen, representing Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law.

After Professor Barnett gave his opening remarks, he explained that where you stand on same-sex marriage from a constitutional perspective depends on whether you view marriage as a liberty or as a state endorsement of a particular relationship. Each panelist was given a few minutes to introduce his or her perspective pertaining to the issue. The moderator began the debate by asking each panel member a question, followed by rebuttal. The questions explored whether the battle for same-sex marriage should take place in the courts or legislatures, whether the prohibition against same-sex marriage is similar to the prior ban on interracial marriages, and whether there is a constitutional basis to prohibit same-sex marriage. After the formal debate ended, the panel fielded questions from the audience members.

Professor Lindevaldsen commented, “The panel discussion demonstrates the pressing need for Liberty University School of Law. Most law students have bought into the mentality that the government should approve any form of marriage because two people love each other. They have not studied, or refuse to acknowledge, the historical foundations for marriage. Government regulates, and has regulated, marriage because the success and continued vitality of society depends on healthy families, each headed by a mom and dad. Contrary to Mr. Coles’ view of marriage, marriage it is not genderless and same-sex marriage is not simply about lifting an existing gender ban. Same-sex marriage is a fundamental redefinition of the historical meaning and purpose of marriage.”

Before joining the School of Law, Professor Lindevaldsen served as Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel. She has co-authored several legal memoranda for legislative bodies, including “The Federal Marriage Amendment Preserves Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman and is Consistent with Constitutional Jurisprudence and Federalism,” which was introduced during senate debate on the federal marriage amendment in July 2004; “Constitutional Analysis of the New York ‘Dignity for All Students Act;’” and “Legal Analysis of SB 101: Proposal to Add Sexual Orientation to the Illinois Human Rights Act.” At Liberty Counsel, she was actively involved in efforts throughout the country to preserve traditional marriage through litigation, legislation, and constitutional amendments.

Through the law school’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Professor Lindevaldsen continues to be involved in litigation that advances religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and traditional family as she supervises students who are committed to restoring the moral foundations of law.