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Courtney G. Joslin

Professor of Law


J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School 1998

B.A., magna cum laude, Brown University 1994


Courtney Joslin received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was an executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Davis, Professor Joslin served as an attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), where she litigated cases on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families.

Professor Joslin's areas of interest include family and relationship recognition, particularly focusing on same-sex and nonmarital couples. Professor Joslin's publications have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston University Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review, the Harvard Law & Policy Review, the Iowa Law Review, the Ohio State Law Journal, and the Southern California Law Review. Her article, Protecting Children(?): Marriage, Gender, and Assisted Reproductive Technology was selected as a winner of the 2010 Dukeminier Award.

Subject Areas

Family Law, Employment Discrimination Law, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law, Constitutional Law

Selected Career Highlights

  • National Center for Lesbian Rights, New Voices Fellow 2000-2002, Staff Attorney 2002-2005, Senior Staff Attorney, 2005-2006
  • Law Clerk, the Honorable Maxine M. Chesney, U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal., 1999-2000
  • Law Clerk, the Honorable Victoria Lederberg, Rhode Island Supreme Court, 1998-1999
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Co-Chair, Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, 2002-present
  • Chair, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2009-present

Selected Publications

Discrimination In and Out of Marriage, 98 Boston University Law Review 1 (2018)

Nurturing Parenthood Through the UPA (2017), 127 Yale Law Journal Forum 589 (2018)

  • Response essay to Douglas NeJaime, The Nature of Parenthood, 126 Yale Law Journal 2260 (2017)

The Gay Rights Canon and the Right to Nonmarriage, 97 Boston University Law Review 425 (2017)

  • Excerpted in Eskridge, Hunter & Joslin, Sexuality, Gender, and the Law (4th ed. 2018)

Marriage Equality and its Relationship to Family Law, 129 Harvard Law Review Forum 197 (2016)

  • Response essay to Douglas NeJaime, Marriage Equality and the New Parenthood, 129 Harvard Law Review 1185 (2016)

Marital Status Discrimination 2.0, 95 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 805 (2015)

Family Support and Supporting Families, 68 VANDERBILT LAW REVIEW EN BANC 153 (2015)

Federalism and Family Status, 90 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 787 (2015)

The Perils of Family Law Localism, 48 UC DAVIS LAW REVIEW 623 (2014) 

Leaving No (Nonmarital) Child Behind, 48 FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY 495 (2014) 

The Restatement of Gay (?), 79 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 621 (2014) (with Lawrence C. Levine)

Windsor, Federalism, and Family Equality, 113 COLUMBIA LAW REVIEW SIDEBAR 156 (2013)

Marriage, Biology, and Federal Benefits, 98 IOWA LAW REVIEW 1467 (2013)

Modernizing Divorce Jurisdiction: Same-Sex Couples and Minimum Contacts, 91 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 1669 (2011)

Searching for a Harm: Same-Sex Marriage and the Well-Being of Children, 46 HARVARD CIVIL RIGHTS - CIVIL LIBERTIES LAW REVIEW 81 (2011)

Protecting Children(?): Marriage, Gender, and Assisted Reproductive Technology, 83 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW 1177 (2010)

Travel Insurance: Protecting Lesbian and Gay Parent Families Across State Lines, 4 HARVARD LAW AND POLICY REVIEW 31 (2010)

Interstate Recognition of Parentage in a Time of Disharmony: Same-Sex Parent Families and Beyond, 70 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 563 (2009)

The Evolution of the American Family, 36 HUMAN RIGHTS 2 (Summer 2009)

Legal Regulation of Pregnancy and Childbirth, in THE CHILD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIC COMPANION (U. Chi. Press 2009)

Further Thoughts on Proposition 8 and Retroactivity: A Response to Choper, CALIFORNIA JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND POLICY, Vol. 1, Iss. 1, Art. 20 (2009)

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER FAMILY LAW, (West 2008, 2009) (with Shannon P. Minter)

Gender Equity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students, in HANDBOOK FOR ACHIEVING GENDER EQUITY THROUGH EDUCATION (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.) (2007) (co-author with Eliza Byard, Sean Fischer, and Joseph Kosciw)

The Legal Parentage of Children Born to Same-Sex Couples: Developments in the Law, 39 FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY 683 (Fall 2005)

Protection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 31 HUMAN RIGHTS 14 (Summer 2004)

A White Paper: An Analysis of the Law Regarding Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnership, 38 FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY 339 (Summer 2004) (co-editor with Jeff Atkinson and contributing author)


Model Second Parent Adoption Brief, 7 THE MICHIGAN CHILD WELFARE LAW JOURNAL 24 (2003) (co-author with Jay Kaplan)

Recognizing a Cause of Action Under Title IX for Student-Student Sexual Harassment, 34 HARVARD CIVIL RIGHTS-CIVIL LIBERTIES LAW REVIEW 201 (1999)

Recent Development, Equal Protection and Anti-Gay Legislation: Dismantling the Legacy of Bowers v. Hardwick -- Romer v. Evans, 116 S. Ct. 1620 (1996), 32 HARVARD CIVIL RIGHTS-CIVIL LIBERTIES LAW REVIEW 225 (1997)