I have a piece in Salon today about racial bias in the sharing economy. How can we prevent the race discrimination that affects businesses in the traditional economy from infecting the new sharing economy as well? The Salon piece gestures at a larger project I’m currently working on that will probably take the form of a law review article, tentatively titled “The New Public Accommodations,” that will look at how we can prevent private-actor race discrimination on within the sharing economy. Continue reading
My new Huffington Post column on the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear five same-sex marriage cases is up. I explain why Justice Ginsburg is wrong, and there is a “need to rush” to reach full marriage equality in all fifty states.
From my piece:
When the Supreme Court stayed the decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Utah, over 1300 same-sex couples had already married in Utah. These already-married couples litigated to have their rights recognized, and Judge Dale Kimball held that those rights should receive recognition. “Legal uncertainties and lost rights cause harm each day,” he wrote.
It’s also worth thinking about what might happen if a Republican presidential candidate wins in 2016. I am not sure that those who think there is “no rush” now will still agree if that comes to pass.
This week I’ll be speaking at UCLA as part of a symposium on Cheryl Harris’ “Whiteness as Property,” which came out just over twenty years ago in the Harvard Law Review. The program, with links to concurrent sessions, is available here. The symposium is a full schedule from October 2-4. I’ll be speaking on Saturday about a work in progress called “Identity Entrepreneurs,” which is a follow-up to my own Harvard Law Review article “Racial Capitalism,” which came out last year.
Unfortunately I will miss the Thursday events due to a commitment back here in Denver, but it should be a great event from start to finish. I think CLE credit is available for almost all of the various panels.
I recently finished reading “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” an important new book by Danielle Keats Citron. I hope to write up some thoughts here in the coming weeks. For now, I simply want to recommend that everyone read the book. It’s compelling, thoughtful, and timely. And in the meantime, the Guardian has an excellent review by Katharine Quarmby. Here’s an excerpt:
In Sartre’s play his three unhappy characters are trapped, without an exit. But we have one. The law, Citron writes, has what she calls an “expressive value” – it helps us distinguish between right and wrong, and it can result in offenders being put behind bars. Site operators can remove the anonymity of trolls and delete abusive speech. But the heavy lifting comes down to us, trapped in the virtual room with one another.
Singular Magazine has published a slightly modified version of my piece on bias and discrimination against single people. (The original piece appeared on Huffington Post.) Speaking as a non-single person, I recommend Singular more generally as one perspective on issues that tend to affect single people.
I’ve coauthored a short essay with my University of Denver Sturm College of Law colleague Ian Farrell — “Gender Discrimination and Same-Sex Marriage” — and am now pleased to share that the piece will be forthcoming in the Columbia Law Review Sidebar. (For non-legal/non-academic folks, the Sidebar is the online companion to the traditional print format of the Columbia Law Review.) I’ll have more details about the timing of publication soon.
My latest Huffington Post column is up! It discusses discrimination against single people, describes the uneven protection the law provides against such discrimination, and suggests some ways we can improve on the current legal regime. Just under half of all states have status prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of marital status, and there is no protection at the federal level. This makes for an interesting comparison among different state statutory schemes, but more importantly, I argue that both state and federal law should protect against marital status discrimination in both employment and housing. This would be good for single people (the focus in my column), unmarried couples, and married couples, all of whom face different kinds of discrimination in different circumstances.
I discuss the specific forms of discrimination that single people face in more detail in one of my current research projects, “Negative Identity,” which is available on SSRN.
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.
I’ve written before about the harm of stays in same-sex marriage litigation and argued that courts shouldn’t stay decisions to invalidate same-sex marriage bans. Today I have an op-ed in the Denver Post, again arguing that such decisions shouldn’t be stayed, particularly in the context of the recent Adams County and Boulder County decisions in Colorado.
So many exciting developments on the same-sex marriage front here in Colorado! Yesterday a state district court judge in Adams County held that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and today a state district court judge in Boulder County held that County Clerk Hillary Hall can continue issuing marriage licenses. I talked to the Associated Press about the latter decision. And two more counties have joined in. Denver County has already issued several licenses, and Pueblo County has announced that it will begin tomorrow.
On a personal note, as someone who grew up here, I could never have dreamed that we would see marriage equality in Colorado barely fifteen years after I graduated from high school. Indeed, I couldn’t have imagined it three years ago. It’s amazing how much can change in such a short time.
To get some of the background on the most recent developments for marriage equality in Colorado, check out my long-form discussion on Fox News’ “Colorado Politics from the Source” with host Eli Stokols and Colorado State Senator Jessie Ulibarri (who recently married his partner). Below are a few photos from the taping.