Last Saturday, I married another professor before 150 family members, friends, and colleagues gathered on the Chesapeake Bay. The fact that both of us were brides in white dresses drew a few gawkers but otherwise made for a nice picture—especially at the end of the ceremony, when we ran into the water to celebrate.
Just four days later, my new wife and I were engulfed in a second wave of celebration. We cheered and cried on Wednesday morning as we learned that the Supreme Court had struck down as unconstitutional the provision of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Now our marriage—like same-sex marriages in the 13 states (and the District of Columbia) that allow them—enjoys legal recognition at the federal level. A companion Supreme Court decision paved the way for legal same-sex marriages to resume in California.
After hearing this news, I realized that if my wife and I weren’t already both teaching in Maryland, where we enjoy full equality under the law, I would want to begin looking for jobs in one of the states where such equal treatment is afforded to same-sex couples.
I then began to wonder if administrators and senior faculty seeking to recruit talented scholars are going to see ripple effects from the Supreme Court’s rulings. If you work in one of the jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, will it suddenly become much easier to recruit LGBT talent away from institutions in the 29 states with constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage? If you are unfortunate enough to work in one of those 29 states, especially the 19 that lack any legal protections for LGBT employees, will you see a brain drain of LGBT talent from your colleges to those in states where we are treated as equals? <Read more.>