Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Griffith Abstract

Gender and Sexuality Rights v. Religious Rights: Which Come First?

I’m accustomed to conceding expertise on the subject of “rights” to lawyers and law professors, so I am very thankful to the organizers of today’s event for imagining that a historian might actually have something interesting and informative to say about this very fraught subject. But what a session title! Part of me wants to contest its very premise (as scholars do) for suggesting that there’s some clear-cut hierarchy here, presumably between women and folks identifying as queer on the one side and “religion” on the other. We could spend all afternoon debating what any of these terms even mean (as scholars do), but I won’t waste our time by being pedantic. Instead, I want to take the question seriously and offer what historical context I can upon it in hopes of stimulating conversation.