As the concluding speaker at the symposium “Belonging, Families, and Family Law,” held 28 January 2011 at the BYU Law School, Professor Brett G. Scharffs delivered a paper “Echoes from the Past: What We Can Learn about Unity, Belonging, and Respecting Differences from the Flag Salute Cases.” The symposium proceedings have been now published as Volume 25, No. 2 of the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law.
In summarizing his paper, Professor Scharffs reiterated recent observations of Professor Thomas Berg of the University of St. Thomas, noting the commonality between religious and sexual minorities. “Both make claims that go to the very heart of personal identity and self-understanding; both make claims with public as well as private dimensions; both are likely to remain minorities and may not fare well if left to the vicissitudes of public opinion. And both want more than to be left alone or barely tolerated; each wants a measure of approval and affirmation; they want to feel safe; they want to belong.”
Professor Scharffs expressed a hope that conversations such as those that took place in the symposium will “be instrumental in finding ways forward, not just to finding ways of seeing these goals as not being mutually irreconcilable, but in finding ways to vindicate—if imperfectly—both.”