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Mae Kuykendall

Mae Kuykendall

Professor of Law

Professor Kuykendall has a scholarly interest in the relationship between legal definitions of marriage and the common usage of the word.

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Area of Expertise

Organizational Governance and Dissent First Amendment Corporate Finance Corporate Law & Policy Marriage Constitutional Law Mergers & Acquisitions Business Law and Narrative Law and Gender


Professor Kuykendall has a scholarly interest in the relationship between legal definitions of marriage and the evolving common usage of the word. She also writes in the area of corporate law and has co-chaired MSU Law's concentration in the area. She helped revise the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act and has been the reporter of the Michigan Business Corporation Act. She has planned Michigan State Law Review symposia, including "Business Law and Narrative" in September 2009, and "Modernizing Marriage ... through E-Marriage" in November 2010. She has published extensively in law reviews and leading blogs.

Prior to her law career, Professor Kuykendall conducted civil justice research in an office attached to the U.S. Office of the Attorney General at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. She served as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the National Center for State Courts, and was the first woman and first non-lawyer in the country to hold the position. Upon receiving her Juris Doctor degree, Kuykendall clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. She then spent six years as an associate in the New York City firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, practicing in the area of corporate finance.

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Harvard University Law School: J.D., | 1985

University of North Carolina: M.A., Political Science | 1972

University of Houston: B.A., Political Science | 1969

University of North Carolina: Ph.D., Political Science | 1980

Selected Press

Soccer star wants to marry his two girlfriends at the same time

Yahoo! | 2018-05-24

Polygamy is also illegal in the United States, Mae Kuykendall, a professor of law at Michigan State University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“No American state validates marriages entered into by more than two people,” she says. Utah tried to criminalise polygamous arrangements, but a federal court ruled the law unconstitutional because it applied to voluntary living arrangements, she points out. “Nonetheless, states in the past have had criminal statutes directed at officially authorized marriages between two people of the same sex,” she says.

Banning transgender students' bathroom choices would violate federal law, experts say

MLive | 2016-04-01

Limiting transgender students' ability to use restrooms that don't match their sex at birth - as one state lawmaker is proposing - would violate federal law and could result in lawsuits, legal experts say.

Gay marriage debate's next front? Reciprocity

USA Today | 2013-06-28

There's a new front in the fight over gay marriage: state-by-state reciprocity.

A legal term for one state recognizing the policy and laws of another, reciprocity will prove central in the fast-approaching debate over whether the three-dozen states with bans on same-sex marriage will have to recognize those performed elsewhere.

A Way Out of the Same-Sex Marriage Mess

The New York Times | 2012-05-23

THE debate over same-sex marriage in the United States has become a battle between two totally opposing visions. Proponents of gay equality want the Supreme Court to proclaim same-sex marriage a fundamental right of citizens, which the court, given its conservative bent, seems unlikely to do. Opponents dream of a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, which also seems improbable, given rapidly evolving attitudes toward homosexuality.