The Mary Renault Society

The Triangle Area of North Carolina

Dobbs & the Future of LGBTQ Constitutional Rights

Professor Holning Lau

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was the blockbuster case in which the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade earlier this summer. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas argued that the rationale in Dobbs invites reconsideration of other constitutional precedents, including cases that protect rights to marriage equality and same-sex sexual intimacy.

Is Justice Thomas correct? How much of a threat does Dobbs pose to LGBTQ rights? Our returning speaker, Professor Holning Lau, will discuss these and other questions concerning Dobbs’ impact on LGBTQ constitutional rights.

Prof. Lau is an internationally recognized expert on international and comparative approaches to equality rights, especially in the contexts of sexuality, gender, and family life. His writing has appeared in leading law reviews, interdisciplinary journals, books, and mass media outlets.

Prof. Lau completed his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago, where he was named a Stonewall Scholar for excellence in his work related to LGBT. He worked at UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy and served as an associate professor at Hofstra University in New York, where he also co-directed Hofstra’s LGBT Rights Fellowship Program.

In 2009 he came to UNC-Chapel Hill. From 2013 to 2015, Lau was president of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of North Carolina.  From 2018 to 2019, he served as an independent consultant to the International Commission of Jurists and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, supporting their work on sexual orientation and gender identity issues in Myanmar.

At UNC-CH he teaches International Law of Human Rights, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Family Law.  He co-directs UNC’s Human Rights Law Program with Professor Deborah Weissman, and he chairs the UNC SOGIESC Human Rights Initiative. In 2022, he was awarded Carolina Law’s Robert G. Byrd Award for Excellence and Creativity in Teaching, and he was named Professor of the Year by UNC Law’s Pro Bono Program.

Prof. Lau has spoken to us before, in June of 2016, July of 2017, July of 2019, and August 23 of 2020.


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