Feminist Theory and Gender Studies

A blog to facilitate the communication of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section (FTGSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) concerning their research, activities, conferences, and thoughts.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Discussion of ISA New Orleans, 2010 (for ISA Membership)

In a post I (Laura Sjoberg) wrote on the ISA website, the problems with ISA's choice of New Orleans as a site for some of ISA's LGBTQ members are detailed, including why some of those members will be unable to come to ISA New Orleans. The text posted is reposted below:

Several weeks ago a letter was sent out to the ISA community regarding an important issue raised by some of our members. The letter in turn elicited several requests for clarification regarding the legal situation to which the letter referred. In that spirit, we offer the following clarification:

A 2004 amendment to the Louisiana Constitution denies marriage and “the legal incidents thereof” to same-sex couples. This provision places an affirmative burden on visiting lesbian and gay pairs, who may never have legally recognized relationships in Louisiana, regardless of their marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership in home states or countries. For example, the 2004 amendment invalidates by operation of law, medical-care agreements signed outside of Louisiana between the members of same-sex couples because such documents touch the legal incidents of marriage which the state constitution withholds from those pairs.

A significant difference between Louisiana and many other states appears to be that the Louisiana law is written in such a way that it will not honor contracts made in other states/countries that establish domestic partners' rights to make medical decisions, share property, execute wills, etc. As a result, a number of our LBTGQ members are uncomfortable going to New Orleans for ISA 2010. Those members believe that there is a substantial risk of a lack of equal protection of the laws in the most dire possible situations, including but not limited to critical medical emergencies.

Due to this situation, some members of ISA will not attend the conference. Others are looking to develop initiatives to show ISA's short and long-term commitment to its LGBTQ members. Still others are interested in making ISA 2010 the most productive conference it can be for ALL our members. Members interested in discussing these issues can do so on the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section blog, ftgss.blogspot.com.

Finally, in response to this issue, the following letter was sent out to the membership (Download March24LetterToMembers PDF).
I have created this post on the FTGS blog for ISA member discussion, should ISA members have ideas about how to handle ISA New Orleans, have questions about the text above, or want to engage in general conversation on related issues.