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Sexual Identity and the Law (Lavelle)

Eexplore a variety of legal issues related to sexual identity and sexual orientation.

Sexual Identity and the Law

This  guide is intended to supplement the course with the same name. Taught by Prof. Lavelle, the class will explore a variety of legal issues related to sexual identity and sexual orientation. This area of the law is ever-changing, and we will discuss legal issues related to sexual identity and orientation in the context of today’s culture; particularly, how these issues are affected by religion and cultural morality. Though much of the legal doctrine considered in this course will be constitutional in nature, the course will also touch on basic family law and possibly employment law.

Professor Lydia E. Lavelle


J.D., North Carolina Central University
M.A., North Carolina State University
B.A., St. Andrews University (formerly St. Andrews Presbyterian College)


Lydia E. Lavelle, born in Athens, Ohio, graduated with a B.A. from St. Andrews University. She earned a Master’s of Recreation Resources from North Carolina State University, and worked in the field of parks and recreation administration for several years.

A 1993 graduate of the Law School’s evening program, Professor Lavelle clerked for the Honorable Clifton E. Johnson on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1993 to 1995 before obtaining a position at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law. She was the Law School’s first Pro Bono Coordinator and Alumni Relations Director. She also served as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the Law School for ten years.

Now a Professor, she teaches Civil Procedure, State and Local Governmental Law, and Sexual Identity and the Law. Professor Lavelle has also taught Legal Writing II, Advanced Legal Writing I, and Street Law. She has served as a chair or member of the Law School’s Curriculum Committee, Relations and External Affairs Committee, and Student Disciplinary Committee. Her memberships include the 15B Judicial District Bar (NC), the North Carolina Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys (NCAWA), the National Lesbian and Gay Law (LGBT) Bar Association, and the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Attorneys (GALA). She is a past president of NCAWA. She is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Ohio.  In 2018 she was appointed to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Commission on Inclusion.

For many years, Professor Lavelle has been involved in public service, including nearly a decade as a member of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission. After being elected to two terms on the Carrboro (N.C.) Board of Aldermen, she was elected mayor in November 2013.


To access Professor Lavelle’s publications, click here.

Contact Information

Office: 129
Phone: 919-530-7464
Fax: 919-530-6339