The relationship between religious complicity claims and discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community has been explored quite a bit in the last few years. This talk will focus on the supposed conflict between religious complicity claims and LGBTQ rights, especially transgender rights and same-sex marriage in the United States, and the relative lack of such complicity claims in Japan where cultural objections to same-sex marriage are used more often than religious ones, and where some transgender rights are more recognized than in the United States. The talk will argue for a contextual approach to these issues in the United States. That approach would legally protect religious complicity claims in some situations, but not others, and would consider who (or what sort of entity) is making the complicity claim as well as the nature of the harm legal protection of the complicity claim would inflict on members of the LGBTQ community. In Japan, the contextual approach has benefits as well; although it is less clear how it might work in the Japanese legal system.
Professor Frank S. Ravitch, Michigan State University College of Law, USA[/caption]Frank S. Ravitch is Professor of Law and Walter H. Stowers Chair in Law in Religion at the Michigan State University College of Law. He also directs the MSU College of Law, Kyoto Japan Program. He is the author of Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and the Future of America (Cambridge University Press, 2016) (Nominated for a Prose Award); Marketing Creation: The Law and Intelligent Design (Cambridge University Press 2012), Masters of Illusion: The Supreme Court and the Religion Clauses (NYU Press 2007); Law and Religion: Cases, Materials, and Readings (West 2004)(2nd Ed. 2008) (3rd Ed. 2015 with Larry Cata Backer), School Prayer and Discrimination: The Civil Rights of Religious Minorities and Dissenters (Northeastern University Press, 1999 & paperback edition 2001). He is co-author, with the late Boris Bittker and with Scott Idleman, of the first comprehensive treatise on Law and Religion in more than one hundred years, Religion and the State in American Law (Cambridge University Press 2015) (this project was supported by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment). He is also co-author of, Employment Discrimination Law (Prentice Hall, 2005) (with Pamela Sumners and Janis McDonald).
Professor Ravitch's articles, which have appeared in a number of highly regarded journals, have primarily focused on law and religion in the US and Japan, but he has also written about civil rights law and disability discrimination. He has authored a number of amicus briefs to the US Supreme Court and has given numerous academic presentations nationally and internationally. In 2001, he was named a Fulbright scholar and served on the law faculty at Doshisha University (Japan). He has also made dozens of public presentations explaining the law before school groups, community groups, and service clubs and has served as an expert commentator for print and broadcast media.
Professor Ravitch’s current projects include a book on the Japanese Legal System (co-authored with Colin Jones), a chapter on law and religious tradition, and a project focusing on Law, Religion, and Authoritarianism. He speaks English and basic conversational Japanese and Hebrew.