Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson has been selected by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society (JRCLS) as the 2018 recipient of the Thomas L. Kane Religious Freedom Award.
The award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of religious liberty for all and who has contributed in significant ways to the defense of religious freedom in the public square. The award is named in honor of General Thomas L. Kane who - although a Presbyterian - was a great friend to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early days of its history and an influential and powerful advocate for the religious freedom of its members during periods when Latter-day Saints suffered great religious persecution.
Professor Wilson's credentials in the area of law and religion are numerous.
She specializes in family law and health law, and her research and teaching interests also include biomedical ethics, law and religion, children and violence, and law and science. She directs the Family Law and Policy Program and the Epstein Health Law and Policy Program at the College of Law.
Wilson has published several books and many articles on the subject and has been quoted in all of the major news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and the Washington Post.
Professor Wilson directs the Fairness for All Initiative, which seeks to provide tangible support and advice to thought-leaders, stakeholders, policymakers, and state and local legislators who seek balanced approaches that respect both LGBT rights and religious freedom. She is also the founder and director of the Tolerance Means Dialogues, a gift-supported effort to generate dialogue around deeply contested questions in civil society. She is joined in that effort by prominent gay rights leaders and sitting legislators.
Professor Wilson has worked extensively on behalf of state law reform efforts, recently helping Utah state lawmakers to pass anti-discrimination legislation that balances religious liberty and LGBT rights. In 2007, she received the Citizen’s Legislative Award for her work on changing Virginia’s informed consent law.
"No one has worked harder for religious liberty than Robin Wilson these last few years. It has been an awesome thing to observe. I'm glad there are others who took notice," said Douglas Laycock (University of Virginia Law School).
"Robin is not only a great theorist of religious liberty-equality clashes, but has been a positive force in the world. Her work was key to Utah's adoption of an anti-discrimination law for gay people in 2015. Brava!" said Bill Eskridge (Yale Law), co-creator of the Tolerance Means Dialogues.
Wilson will receive the award at a reception during the upcoming JRCLS Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.