SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Prof. Hila Keren faculty headshot

April 11, 2024

Professor Hila Keren of Southwestern Law School Wins Award for LGBTQ+ Scholarship and Advocacy

Keren’s article, "Separating Church and Market: The Duty to Secure Market Citizenship for All," earned the prestigious Dukeminier Award. 

LOS ANGELES, CA — Hila Keren, the Paul E. Treusch Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research at Southwestern Law School, has won The Stu Walter Prize for her article "Separating Church and Market: The Duty to Secure Market Citizenship for All," originally published in the U.C. Irvine Law Review. The Walter Prize is part of UCLA’s prestigious Dukeminier Awards. 

Keren's article delves into the conflict between religious liberties and LGBTQ+ rights within the marketplace, highlighting the need for inclusive market citizenship.  

The Dukeminier Award recognizes outstanding LGBTQ+ published legal scholarship. Keren's article was originally published in 2022 and has been included in Volume 20 of the Dukeminier Awards Journal.  

In her article, Keren uncovered the strategy used by the Alliance Defending Freedom to allow businesses open to the public to exclude LGBTQ+ clients for religious reasons despite explicit legal protections against discrimination. The strategy is based not on the freedom of religion but on a version of freedom of speech that extends the freedom to decisions regarding whom to serve in the open market, a practice the winning article has identified as "market evangelism." After the article's publication, the Supreme Court reviewed and affirmed this, excluding market behavior in 303 Creative v. Elenis. However, as Separating Church and Market explains, this exclusion not only marginalizes LGBTQ+ individuals but also undermines the broader principles of market participation and equality. In this article and in later work criticizing the Court's decision in 303 Creative, Keren has argued for the recognition of what she calls "market citizenship," a novel legal concept that obligates businesses to serve all individuals equitably, thereby ensuring the marketplace remains open to all.  

Keren expressed gratitude for the recognition of her work by the Williams Institute. She emphasized that the award and re-publication of the article would further enhance the impact of her work on understanding and advancing LGBTQ+ rights and securing everyone's right to full participation in the market. "I wanted people to realize that to exclude people from the marketplace just because of their identity is an act of humiliation that causes severe injuries. For that reason, the Dukeminier Award is not only an honor but also a validation of the importance of exploring the intersections of law, market dynamics, LGBTQ+ rights, and human dignity," said Keren.  

Keren, a recognized expert in contract law and the law's impact on inequality, social conditions, and human emotions, has significantly influenced the discourse on legal and social issues through her publications in top journals and media appearances.   

The Williams Institute established the Dukeminier Awards to highlight and disseminate the best legal scholarship on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, fostering a deeper understanding of the legal challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. 

Read the full article.