Experts discuss gay rights, freedom of association and religious liberty
By Lindsey Tercilla
On Jan. 31, the UF Federalist Society and OUTLaw, the Levin College of Law’s gay-straight alliance group, hosted a discussion on gay rights, freedom of association and religious liberty. Deroy Murdock, columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and visiting Professor Darren Hutchinson exchanged ideas and offered students new perspectives about the three topics.
The openly libertarian columnist discussed gay rights in relation to gay marriage.
“The best way to handle marriage is to get the government out of it,” said Murdock. “If you want to keep something sacred, keep it in the sacred sector.”
Murdock advocated for making the social benefits of marriage universal in some sense in order for gay couples to enjoy these benefits. He stressed the need for a separation of government and marriage.
Hutchinson spoke of his involvement in the Dale v. Boy Scouts trial and about the differences of expressive association and intimate association.
The government, he said, cannot evoke religious freedom to address discrimination and civil rights issues.
The discussion provided an opportunity for students to see the law in action.
“This informational session is relevant to students because it shows application of the law to real-world problems,” said Hutchinson. “While real-world application of the law is discussed in class, an info session like that can go beyond what we can talk about in class.”
The discussion, like many others hosted by these student organizations, allowed for a more in-depth analysis of concepts and connects students to professionals within the field while exposing students to other types of law.
Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service. His column, “This Opinion Just In…,” frequently appears in the New York Post, Washington Times, and Orange County Register, among some 400 U.S. newspapers he reaches weekly.
Hutchinson teaches Constitutional Law, Equitable Remedies and seminars in Critical Race Theory, Law and Social Change, and Equal Protection Theory at the American University, Washington College of Law.