Lori Beaman is professor and Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. Beaman’s research had helped to develop the concept of deep equality and an emerging “will to religion” and its impact on the growing category of those without religious beliefs. She previously directed the Religion and Diversity Project and is currently the Principal Investigator of the Nonreligion in a Complex Future Project at the University of Ottawa. With a team of 21 researchers, this project seeks to identify the social impact of the rapid and dramatic increase of non-religion in Canada, Australia, the Nordic countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America. She is the recipient of the 2017 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award in the Insight Category and holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University. She also received the 2017-2018 University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Research and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Beaman is the author of numerous books, including Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law (2008), Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity (2017), and The Transition of Religion to Culture in Law and Public Discourse (2020).

In her lecture, Beaman discussed religious diversity in Canada, focusing on societal definitions of religion and how those definitions impact interpretations of religious freedom. She emphasized how this relates to religious law in a secular state, polygamy and same-sex marriage.