John G. Culhane
Distinguished Professor of Law

B.A., The College of William and Mary
J.D., Fordham University School of Law

Phone: 302.477.2107 (cell: 215-519-9107)

John Culhane is Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Family Health Law & Policy Institute at Widener University School of Law, and a contributing writer for Slate Magazine.

He is co-author of “Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies,” editor and a contributor to “Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates: A Public Health Perspective,” and the author of some three dozen law review articles on a wide range of topics, including: the rights of LGBT couples; compensation of victims of mass disasters; the public health implications of such disparate issues as sports-related concussions, bullying, same-sex marriages, and vaccine compensation policy; and a wide range of tort law issues (including informed consent, product liability, and educational malpractice). He is currently completing work on a book about the history and possible future of various new forms of legal statuses, including civil unions and domestic partnerships.

In addition to Slate, Professor Culhane’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Miami Herald, the Huffington Post (where he is an occasional blogger), Dissent Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and in many other news outlets. He has been featured on a number of radio and television shows, including All Things Considered, Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, America Weekend, Press Play with Madeleine Brand, American Law Journal, Voice of America, Midday with Dan Rodricks, The Mitch Albom Show, and The Gil Gross Show. He appears in the feature-length documentary “America Betrayed”, where he discusses the disparate treatment given to victims of the September 11 terrorist attack and those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

He has thrice won the Outstanding Faculty award at Widener, and has twice received the Douglas E. Ray Scholarship Award. He is co-chair of Widener’s LGBT Task Force and a member of the Board of Directors of Women’s Way.

Before coming to Widener in 1987, Professor Culhane was an associate editor of the Fordham Law Review. He then clerked for the Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin, in federal district court in New York City, before working for the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon and Reindel. From 1986-87, he was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates: A Public Health Perspective (editor and contributor) (forthcoming Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Book Chapters:
  • Public Health and Marriage (Equality), in Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates (above).
  • Introduction, in Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates (above).
Law Journal Articles
  • Marriage Equality? First, Justify Marriage (If You Can), 1 Drexel L. Rev. 485 (2009).
  • Marriage, Tort, and Private Ordering: Rhetoric and Reality in LGBT Rights, 84 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 437 (2009).
  • The Short, Puzzling(?) Life of the Civil Union, 19 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 1 (2009).
  • Beyond Rights and Morality: The Overlooked Public Health Argument for Same-Sex Marriage, 17 J. L. & Sexuality 7 (2008).
  • What Does Justice Require for the Victims of Katrina and September 11?, 10 DePaul J. Health Care Law 179 (2007).
  • The Gay Marriage Backlash and its Spillover Effects: Lessons from a (Slightly) “Blue State,” (with Stacey L. Sobel), 40 Tulsa L. Rev. 443 (2005), in SYMPOSIUM: THE LEGISLATIVE BACKLASH TO ADVANCES IN RIGHTS FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES.
  • “Lawrence-ium”: The Densest Known Substance?, 11 Widener L. Rev. 259 (2005), in SYMPOSIUM: READINGS OF LAWRENCE V. TEXAS.
  • Bad Science, Worse Policy: The Exclusion of Gay Males from Donor Pools, 24 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 129 (2005), in

    The Wizardry of Ken Feinberg, Slate, July 22, 2010, at
  • Sandbags Full of Money: Victim Compensation After 9/11, Dissent, Fall 2003, at 40.
  • & Jean Macchiaroli Eggen, Gun Makers Seek to Bar Justice, Sun. News J. (Wilmington, DE), June 22, 2003, at A15.