Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Economic Benefit of Marriage Equality

Not that this is the best or only reason to support marriage equality, but it’s worth noting that legalizing same-sex marriage has substantial economic benefits. UCLA’s Williams Institute has this series of state-by state reports.

For example, over three years, legalizing same sex marriage would add $182.2M to Florida’s economy, $70.8M to Ohio’s economy, $181.6M to Texas’ economy, $103M to Illinois’ economy, and $53.2M to Michigan’s economy. This would result from “wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests.”

The researchers project other specific benefits as well. In Florida, for example, the spending would result in $12.1M in state and local sales tax revenue, as well as up to 2,626 new full- and part-time jobs in the state.

Obviously rights shouldn’t be determined by whether they’re lucrative. Same-sex marriage should be legal even if it were economically costly. But the fact that legalizing same-sex marriage actually generates revenue makes governmental opposition to it even less defensible, and state arguments that decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans cause “irreparable harm” even more feeble.

Say that a state incurs administrative costs in performing same-sex marriages after the invalidation of a same-sex marriage ban when it’s uncertain whether the Supreme Court will eventually hold such bans permissible. In many instances those costs could be outweighed by other economic benefits, such as tax revenue.

Other Writing

The Anti-Climax of Elonis v. United States, Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, June 8, 2015

The Federalism Argument for Judicial Diversity, JOTWELL, January 24, 2015, reviewing Sharon Rush, Federalism, Diversity, Equality, and Article III Judges: Geography, Identity, and Bias, 79 Missouri Law Rev. 119 (2014)

Proposed Bill Will Lead to More Animal Abuse, Not Less, The Denver Post, January 23, 2015 (with Justin Marceau)

Death Penalty Becomes More Rare and More Problematic, Huffington Post, January 5, 2015

Domestic Violence Is Violence, Slate, December 22, 2014

Executing the Mentally Ill, American Constitution Society Blog, December 2, 2014

Guest Post, Argument Recap, Elonis v. United States, Hamilton and Griffin on Rights, December 1, 2014

Will Texas Execute a Mentally Ill Man?, The Atlantic, December 1, 2014 (with Justin Marceau)

Getting the Facts Right About the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision, Huffington Post, November 28, 2014

Faking Diversity and Racial Capitalism, Medium, November 23, 2014

The Sharing Economy Has a Race Problem, Salon, Nov. 2, 2014

Lost Rights Cause Harm Each Day: The Costs of the Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear a Same-Sex Marriage Case, Huffington Post, Oct. 8, 2014

The Other Marriage Discrimination, Huffington Post, Sept. 1, 2014

Constitutional Rights in the Digital Age, Huffington Post, July 19, 2014

Let’s Stop the Stays, The Denver Post, July 13, 2014

Colorado’s New Revenge Porn Statute Is Good Law and Sound Policy, Huffington Post, June 1, 2014 (with Ian Farrell and Justin Pidot)

Evaluating Online Vigilantism Redux, Prawfblawg, Jan. 28, 2014

Evaluating Online Vigilantism, Prawfsblawg, Jan. 25, 2014

Recognizing Race on Martin Luther King Day, Prawfsblawg, Jan. 20, 2014

Gender Diversity and Same-Sex Marriage, Prawfsblawg, Jan. 16, 2014

How Courts Evaluate Written Consent Forms, Prawfsblawg, Jan. 13, 2014

Consent Forms and Affirmative Disclosure, Prawfsblawg, Jan. 10, 2014

Police Don’t Pay, JOTWELL, November 7, 2013, reviewing Joanna C. Schwartz, Police Indemnification, 89 N.Y.U. L. Rev. (2014)

How Should Judges Spend Their Time?, JOTWELL, June 14, 2013, reviewing Marin K. Levy, Judicial Attention as a Scarce Resource: A Preliminary Defense of How Judges Allocate Time Across Cases in the Federal Courts of Appeals, 81 George Washington Law Review 401 (2013)

Is Diversity for White People?, Prawfsblawg, May 31, 2012

Best Practices for Coauthoring Legal Scholarship, Prawfsblawg, May 18, 2012

Non-White Friends, Prawfsblawg, May 16, 2012

Diversity and the Commodification of Non-Whiteness, Prawfsblawg, May 14, 2014

Principles for Productive Conversations About Race, Prawfsblawg, May 7, 2012

Guest Commentary on Camreta v. Greene: Allowing Appeals by Winners, SCOTUSblog (June 2, 2011)

Contributor, Feminist Law Professors Blog (January 2011-present) (archive of posts available here)

Guest Commentary on Pearson v. Callahan, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 23, 2009)

Media

Below is a selection from my media appearances within the past year. A full list is available on request. For media inquiries, please contact me at nleong@law.du.edu.

Wall Street Journal, Murder Trial Begins for Colorado Theater Shooter, April 27, 2015

Fox News, “Trial of the Century”: Killer’s Sanity in Question as Holmes Case Begins in Colorado, April 27, 2015

Huffington Post, The James Holmes Trial Starts Monday, April 27, 2015

CBS Evening News, In Aurora Shooting Trial, Insanity May Be Hard Sell, April 26, 2015

CBS Evening News, Holmes’ Mental State Key in Aurora Massacre Trial, April 25, 2015

Associated Press, Colorado Theater Shooting Trial to Start, April 25, 2015

Diversity Executive, Faking It Will Not Make It, March 24, 2015

7News Denver, Prosecutors: Harold Henthorn Tells Conflicting Stories About Two Wives’ Deaths, January 29, 2015

Inside Higher Ed, A Day Without Adjuncts, January 27, 2015

Vox, Bakeries are at the Center of LGBT Rights, January 23, 2015

Los Angeles Times, Can A Baker Refuse to Make an Anti-Gay Cake?, January 23, 2015

Washington Post, Colorado Baker Refused to Put an Anti-Gay Message on Cakes, January 22, 2015

Christian Science Monitor, Denver Baker Sued for Refusing to Write Anti-Gay Slogans on Cake, January 22, 2015

ABA Journal, Baker Who Would Not Decorate a Cake With Anti-Gay Slurs Faces Civil Rights Complaint, January 22, 2015

9News Denver, Baker Refused to Write Anti-Gay Words on Cake, January 21, 2015

USA Today, Baker Refused to Write Anti-Gay Words on Cake, January 20, 2015

CCTV America, Aurora Theater Shooting in United States: Trial Set for Gunman, January 20, 2015

The Denver Post, Colorado Supporters of Gay Marriage Applaud U.S. Supreme Court Review, January 16, 2015

The Reappropriate Podcast, Free Speech and Online Threats, December 8, 2014

9News Denver, Local Nuns Challenge Health Law, Denver 8, 2014

7News Denver, Denver Mayor Addresses Protests, Denver 8, 2014

Fox News Denver, Colorado Politics from the Source, Two Americas: Discussing Michael Brown and Eric Garner, December 7, 2014

Columbia Journalism Review, Enforcing Digital Privacy Might Be Tough, December 3, 2014

7News Denver, Supreme Court Deciding What’s a Threat, December 1, 2014

NBC News, Asian Americans Show Solidarity, Support for Ferguson, November 25, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek, How Could Uber Punish People Who Complain About Uber?, November 18, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek, Why Did So Many People Flunk the Bar Exam This Year?, November 18, 2014

7News Denver, Harold Henthorn Indicted in 2012 Murder of Second Wife, November 7, 2014

Associated Press, Gay Marriages Could Begin by Next Week in Virginia, August 13, 2014

Colorado Public Radio, Personhood’s Third Attempt Seeps Into Colorado’s Close Senate Race, July 25, 2014

Associated Press, Top Colorado Court Halts Denver Gay Marriages, July 18, 2014

Fox News Denver, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional in Oklahoma, July 18, 2014

The Denver Post, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers Takes Fire Over Gay Marriage, July 13, 2014

Fox News Denver, Same Sex Marriage in Colorado, July 10, 2014

USA Today, Denver Joins Boulder in Same Sex Marriage Licenses, July 10, 2014

Associated Press, Judge: Gay Couples Can Keep Marrying in Colorado, July 10, 2014

Fox News Denver, Colorado Politics from the Source, Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado, July 6, 2014

The Source 4

Associated Press, Experts: Ruling Tees Up Gay Marriage for Top Courts, June 26, 2014

Associated Press, Ruling Shows Crack in Legal Gay Marriage Unanimity, June 26, 2014

Associated Press, In Case Like Denver Police Probe, Charges Are Rare, June 18, 2014

NY Public Radio, New Tech City, How Businesses Are Rating YOU, May 7, 2014

NPR, On the Media, The Customer Isn’t Always Right: Concerns With Uber’s Passenger Rating System, Apr. 25, 2014

Inside Higher Ed, Up to Here With Trolls?, Apr. 15, 2014

The Denver Post, Wild-Card 10th Circuit Judge Is Deciding Vote in Gay Marriage Cases, April 6, 2014

Al Jazeera, Whose Version of “Diversity” Did the Oscars Celebrate?, Mar. 5, 2014

Southern California Public Radio, AirTalk with Larry Mantle, Is There Bias Against Asian Americans In University Admissions?, Feb. 18, 2014 (includes links to both live audience recording at Tatueuchi Democracy Forum and “overtime” session including audience questions)

Airtalk 2014_2a

Associated Press, A Changing Judicial Landscape for Gay Rights, February 14, 2014,

The Denver Post, Mysterious Fourth Man in Fero’s Fatal Stabbings Protected as Informant, Jan. 28, 2014

Associated Press, Colorado Legislation Deals with Cyberharassment, Jan. 17, 2014

Associated Press, Grand Jury Indicted JonBenet Parents, Oct. 25 2013

Working Draft: Negative Identity

I’ve posted a draft of one of my current research projects on SSRN. The piece is called “Negative Identity.” Here’s the abstract:

This Article examines the social and legal status of “negative identity”—identity marked by indifference or antipathy to something that much of society considers fundamental. As examples of negative identity, the Article considers those who identify as atheist, asexual, single, or childfree.

The Article begins by giving content to negative identity. Atheist, asexual, single, and childfree identity consists of more than merely the respective lack of religion, sexual attraction, partnership, or children. Rather, these negative identities are meaningful to group members, add value to society, and thus deserve legitimacy and respect. Unfortunately, respect is not always forthcoming: negative identity group members experience significant animus, discrimination, and marginalization.

This state of affairs requires legal intervention. I demonstrate that under current law negative identity is under-protected relative to analogous positive identity categories. In many legal contexts, including employment, housing, public benefits, and taxation, members of negative identity groups are treated differently and worse than their positive identity counterparts. Consequently, the Article proposes a broad reevaluation of laws that implicate negative identity. Negative identity deserves the same protection as positive identity against direct discrimination, which I define as worse treatment based purely on hostility to the identity. When negative identity groups indirectly subsidize positive identity groups, legal actors should undertake a holistic inquiry into all relevant factors in order to determine whether the subsidy is justified.

I’d love to hear any comments, but as I note, it’s a working draft, so please don’t quote or cite without permission.