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Professor Robin Wilson Cited in R.I. Same-Sex Marriage Debate

April 10, 2013 Leave a comment
Robin Wilson

Robin Fretwell Wilson

An article discussing a potential vote on a same-sex marriage proposal in Rhode Island quoted  R.I. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed as favorably citing an op-ed penned by W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson:

The House version of the bill passed in January contains only a narrow exemption for religious institutions, said Paiva Weed. But a competing measure by an opponent, Sen. Frank A. Ciccone, would ask voters to decide, and includes broader exemptions that same-sex marriage supporters call discriminatory.

Paiva Weed said that one of the “better explanations” she’s read regarding exemptions was a Feb. 21op-ed piece in The Providence Journal by Robin Fretwell Wilson, a Washington & Lee University law professor. Wilson criticized the Rhode Island House bill for providing only “fake protections,” arguing that “religious liberty and same-sex marriage share an inseparable fate.”

To read Professor Wilson’s op-ed referred to above, click here.

Prof. Robin Wilson Publishes Commentary on Religious Liberty Issues

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment
Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson

Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson

Washington and Lee law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson has authored two recent commentaries dealing with religious liberty issues.

One editorial appeared in the Tulsa World and focused on Hobby Lobby Store, Inc. and the company’s decision to challenge the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that employers provide access to birth control. In the commentary, Prof. Wilson examines the costs to employers, and to employees, if companies choose not abide by the ACA’s rules. Hobby Lobby faces a $1.3 millon a day fine for each day it fails to comply with certain provisions of the ACA. But Wilson argues that companies can get around this by simply dropping coverage all together for employees.

The full commentary is available online.

Prof. Wilson also published a guest column in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, Il), co-authored with W&L Law graduate Anthony Kreis, now a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. In the piece, Wilson and Kreis argue that the state of Illinois should include even stronger religious protections in a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. They point to laws passed recently in other states that bolstered religious liberty protections while supporting marriage equality.

The full column is available online.

Prof. Wilson is co-editor of the book “Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts.”

Professor Robin Wilson to be Featured at Religious Freedom Conference in Sydney

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson

Prof. Wilson

The University of Sydney in Australia is hosting a conference entitled The Scope and Limits of Religious Freedom in Australia.  W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson is the featured guest speaker.  Check out the conference announcement here, which provides additional details.  It will be held on Thursday, March 15, 2013.

Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Class of 1958 Law Alumni Professor of Law. A specialist in Family Law and Health Law, her research and teaching interests also include Insurance and Biomedical Ethics.  Professor Wilson is the editor of four volumes: Health Law and Bioethics: Cases in Context (with Sandra Johnson, Joan Krause and Richard Savor, 2009); Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008) (with Douglas Laycock and Anthony A. Picarello);Reconceiving the Family: Critique on the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (Cambridge University Press, 2006); and the Handbook of Children, Culture & Violence(Sage Publications, 2006) (with Nancy Dowd & Dorothy G. Singer).  Her articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, theEmory Law Journal, the North Carolina Law Review, and the San Diego Law Review, as well as in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Today: Professor Robin Wilson at Georgetown Speaking on Religious Liberty

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Prof. Robin Wilson

W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson has been invited to  invited to comment on Gerry Bradley’s new book, Challenges to Religious Liberty in the 21st Century.  Her comments will be part of an October 24 event at the The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.  This invitation comes in connection with Professor Wilson’s forthcoming article entitled The Calculus of Accommodation: Contraception, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and Other Clashes Between Religion and the State, which will be published in the Boston College Law Review in a few weeks.

Professor Wilson’s Article, which is available for download on SSRN, considers a burning issue in society today — whether, and under what circumstances, religious groups and individuals should be exempted from the dictates of civil law. The “political maelstrom” over the Obama administration’s sterilization and contraceptive coverage mandate is just one of many clashes between religion and the state. Religious groups and individuals have also sought religious exemptions to the duty to assist with abortions or facilitate same-sex marriages. In all these contexts, religious objectors claim a special right of entitlement to follow their religious tenets, in the face of equally compelling claims that religious accommodations threaten access and may impose significant costs on others. Legislators and other policymakers have struggled with how to advance two compelling, and at times conflicting, values — access and religious liberty. This Article examines, and responds to, a number of “sticking points” voiced by legislators about a qualified exemption for religious objectors that would permit them to step aside from facilitating same-sex marriages so long as no hardship will result. These concerns bear an uncanny resemblance to reasons why some believe the Obama administration should not yield further on the coverage mandate. Professor Wilson’s Article maintains that religious accommodations qualified by hardship to others can transform what could be a zero-sum proposition into one in which access and religious freedom can both be affirmed.

Professor Robin Wilson’s Comments on Legal Issues for Unmarried Couples Appear in Essence Magazine

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson

W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson recently commented on the legal considerations relating to cohabitation by unmarried couples.  Her comments appeared in Essence Magazine and addressed what such couples need to keep in mind when it comes to children, health matters, property & assets, and inheritance issues.

To view Professor Wilson’s discussion, click here.

Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Class of 1958 Law Alumni Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University School of Law.  A specialist in Family Law and Health Law, her research and teaching interests also include Insurance and Biomedical Ethics.  Professor Wilson is the editor of four volumes: Health Law and Bioethics: Cases in Context (with Sandra Johnson, Joan Krause and Richard Savor, 2009); Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008) (with Douglas Laycock and Anthony A. Picarello);Reconceiving the Family: Critique on the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution (Cambridge University Press, 2006); and the Handbook of Children, Culture & Violence(Sage Publications, 2006) (with Nancy Dowd & Dorothy G. Singer).  Her articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, theEmory Law Journal, the North Carolina Law Review, and the San Diego Law Review, as well as in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Watch Professor Robin Wilson Speak on Religious Objections to the ACA and Emergency Contraception

October 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Prof. Robin Wilson

W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson recently spoke at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs as part of a conference on Contraception and Conscience: A Symposium on Religious Liberty, Women’s Health, and the HHS Rule on Provision of Birth Control Coverage for Employees.  Specifically, her talk focused on religious objections to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.  The discussion focused on the true mechanism of action of emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Ella, how there is at times unclarity with respect to whether they act before or after fertilization, and how that complicates the debate, since studies show that many women, whether religious believers or not, have concerns about using such drugs if they work after fertilization or implantation.

Professor Wilson goes on to discuss how failing to be generous with religious exemptions has unintended consequences.  Religious employers who object to certain coverage have other more extreme remedies available to them, what Professor Wilson calls the  “nuclear option”: the complete withdrawal of health care coverage for their employees, forcing those employees onto the public health insurance exchanges.  This could be a more economically beneficial option for some employers, depending on their circumstances.

Regarding the position of individual objectors, whose situation has been almost entirely overlooked, their options are much more limited.  The individual mandate forces individual religious objectors to solve the collision between their religious consciences and the demands of civil law at great costs to themselves.   Professor Wilson argues that the Obama Administration should grant these objectors a less extreme way out and has a ready vehicle for doing so, the hardship exemption, for which regulations have yet to be released.

To view Professor Wilson’s remarks in their entirety, click here.

Categories: faculty, Wilson, Robin F.

Professor Robin Wilson to Speak on Religious Liberty at Georgetown

October 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson

W&L Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson has been invited to  invited to comment on Gerry Bradley’s new book, Challenges to Religious Liberty in the 21st Century.  Her comments will be part of an October 24 event at the The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.  This invitation comes in connection with Professor Wilson’s forthcoming article entitled The Calculus of Accommodation: Contraception, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and Other Clashes Between Religion and the State, which will be published in the Boston College Law Review in a few weeks.

Professor Wilson’s Article, which is available for download on SSRN, considers a burning issue in society today — whether, and under what circumstances, religious groups and individuals should be exempted from the dictates of civil law. The “political maelstrom” over the Obama administration’s sterilization and contraceptive coverage mandate is just one of many clashes between religion and the state. Religious groups and individuals have also sought religious exemptions to the duty to assist with abortions or facilitate same-sex marriages. In all these contexts, religious objectors claim a special right of entitlement to follow their religious tenets, in the face of equally compelling claims that religious accommodations threaten access and may impose significant costs on others. Legislators and other policymakers have struggled with how to advance two compelling, and at times conflicting, values — access and religious liberty. This Article examines, and responds to, a number of “sticking points” voiced by legislators about a qualified exemption for religious objectors that would permit them to step aside from facilitating same-sex marriages so long as no hardship will result. These concerns bear an uncanny resemblance to reasons why some believe the Obama administration should not yield further on the coverage mandate. Professor Wilson’s Article maintains that religious accommodations qualified by hardship to others can transform what could be a zero-sum proposition into one in which access and religious freedom can both be affirmed.

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