Religion and Gay Marriage: Do They Have To Be At Odds?

#ToleranceMeans Dialogues

Date and Times: 
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

University of Pittsburgh School of Law
3900 Forbes Avenue Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

A Dialogue between

  • William Eskridge, Jr.
    John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School

  • Robin Fretwell Wilson
    Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

Moderated by: Professor Mary Crossley, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Watching the news, it may seem that advocates for marriage equality for LGBT individuals and proponents for protections for the religious convictions of people of faith live in different worlds and could never find common ground. But is that necessarily the case? This program features leading national legal experts on gay rights and religious liberty, in dialogue with Pitt students, to consider what tolerance might mean in this context.

Scholarship Opportunities

  • Students who tweet their own ideas, reactions or questions to @ToleranceMeans will have the chance to win a $250 Social Engagement prize. There will be no limit on submissions, so tweeting more results in a greater chance of winning.
  • Submit 500 Words on the meaning of tolerance and attach a tweet tagged with #ToleranceMeans by March 10 to
  • Winners meet a legislator and participate in the Dialogue.
  • Compete for two $750 Scholarships (undergrad and grad winners).


Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson is the author of eight books, including Same-Sex Marriage And Religious Liberty (2008, with Douglas Laycock and Anthony Picarello, eds.), The Contested Place Of Religion In Family Law (Robin Fretwell Wilson, ed.) (under contract with Cambridge University Press), and Faith, Sexuality, And The Meaning Of Freedom (William N. Eskridge, Jr. & Robin Fretwell Wilson, eds.) (in conversation with Cambridge University Press).

Wilson has worked extensively on state law reform. In 2007, she received the Citizen’s Legislative Award for her work on changing Virginia’s informed consent law. Most recently, she assisted the Utah Legislature to enact the Utah Compromise, balancing LGBT rights with religious liberty protections for traditional marriage. 

Professor William Eskridge’s primary legal academic interest has been statutory interpretation and gay rights. Together with Professor Philip Frickey, he developed an innovative casebook on Legislation. In 1990-95, Eskridge represented a gay couple suing for recognition of their same-sex marriage. Since then, he has published a field-establishing casebook, three monographs, and dozens of law review articles articulating a legal and political framework for proper state treatment of sexual and gender minorities.

He is the co-author of the book Gay Marriage: For Better Or For Worse? What We Have Learned From The Evidence (Oxford, 2006) (co-authored with Darren Spedale), author of Equality Practice: Civil Unions And The Future Of Gay Rights (Routledge 2002), and is co-editor with Professor Wilson of the book Faith, Sexuality, And The Meaning Of Freedom (in conversation with Cambridge University Press). 

RSVP to this event below

Fill out my online form.