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The Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review convened its 2011 Symposium, LGBT Identity and the Law, at a momentous time. New York had opened marriage to same-sex couples just a few months earlier. Lawyers at Lambda Legal recently had filed a lawsuit in New Jersey demanding full marriage equality. The Justice Department, at the direction of President Obama, had announced earlier in the year that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That decision substantially changed the complexion of lawsuits challenging DOMA in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. In California, the leading legislative advocacy organization, Equality California, was conducting a series of town hall meetings to determine whether the organization should attempt to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012, thereby establishing marriage equality through the initiative process. Equality California ultimately decided not to pursue a ballot proposition while Perry v. Brown, the suit challenging Proposition 8, was ongoing. In Perry, the California Supreme Court was considering, at the request of the Ninth Circuit, whether the proposition proponents could step into the shoes of the state to defend the initiative and appeal an adverse ruling when state officials refused to do so; a month after the Symposium, the court decided that they could and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, California had become the latest site of a DOMA suit, as Lambda Legal challenged the law in Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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