Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.01.11
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org/
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest will now be posted at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
1. The News Leader (Staunton, VA) - Write what’s right: Professors pen book on homosexuality
2. Inside Higher Ed (Washington, DC) - Historians Reject Proposed Boycott
3. BU Today (Brookline, MA) - Out Loud: The Public Face for Gay Rights in America
4. Capital Newspapers, Inc., 77 Square (Madison, WI) - UW Press adds second gay travel book to prestigious list
5. The Malibu Times (Malibu, CA) - Professor's defense of Prop 8 puts Pepperdine in crossfires
6. Washington Times (Washington, DC) - DUIN: College decrees welcome for gays
7. WKYC.com (Cleveland, OH) - Inaugural invite for Case Western professor
8. Gay and Lesbian Times (San Diego, CA) - Commentary: Beyond the Briefs - Law school group should oust anti-gay organizations
9. Winston Salem Journal, JournalNow.com (Winston-Salem, NC) - Christian group joins campus-wide projects
10. Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL) - Students protest on Capitol steps
1. The News Leader, January 3, 2009
P.O. Box 59, Staunton, VA 24402
Write what's right: Professors pen book on homosexuality
By Mindi Westhoff
HARRISONBURG — Reunited after two decades, it was realizing all the things they had in common that made Ted Grimsrud and Mark Thiessan Nation question their differences, especially when dealing with the difficult subject of homosexuality and the church.
They met at seminary more than 30 years ago, but it wasn't until they were both hired at Eastern Mennonite University that Grimsrud and Nation began looking into the controversial topic, of which they hold different views.
Grimsrud and Nation talk as if they're old friends, stealing a sideways glance or laughing sincerely when the other speaks. That congeniality was important for the two men while penning their new book, "Reasoning Together: A Conversation on Homosexuality."
The question of gays, lesbians and the church's acceptance of them is far reaching, the men said, dividing churches and whole denominations.
"It's an issue that many Christians are confronted about today," Nation said. "There's much debate over it."
In "Reasoning Together," Nation and Grimsrud present their differing views, Nation holding the more traditional belief that homosexuality is wrong, according to the Bible.
Grimsrud, on the other hand, believes Biblical language on the subject falls into a more gray area, and that the church should affirm same-sex marriages as legitimate relationships.
Although different in essence, the two men's positions are both reasonably moderate, with Grimsrud maintaining the church's stance on premarital sex despite sexual orientation and Nation stressing the importance of kindness and compassion toward all people.
"For me, this is a matter of faithfulness, and faithfulness is loving your neighbor as yourself," Nation said. "And gays and lesbians are my neighbors."
But the book extends beyond the men's own views. In "Reasoning Together," Grimsrud and Nation ask what they say are the big questions in the debate over homosexuality:
Does the Bible teach homosexuality is wrong?
If so, is that normative for us in the 21st century?
How do people become gay?
What are the genetics and science involved, if any?
Is there a clear consensus in church history about homosexual practice?
According to Nation and Grimsrud, the book, while unique in content and valuable for its inclusiveness, does not so much answer these questions as it simply provides a chance for discussion.
"One of the contributions the book makes is to show how hard it is to make those decisions," Grimsrud said.
Of course, both men hold their own beliefs hope to persuade readers to their way of thinking. But the ultimate goal of the book, Grimsrud said, is to ignite passionate, intelligent discussion, perhaps one day coming to a consensus on the subject.
"It's a dialogue," Grimsrud said. "It's not a one-way advocacy."
2. Inside Higher Ed, January 5, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington D.C. 20036
Historians Reject Proposed Boycott
By Scott Jaschik
Scholarly meetings over the next few years can be expected to feature numerous panels on gay rights, gay marriage and family law, and not just because these are hot issues in American society. The American Historical Association on Sunday became the latest scholarly group to reject a push by members to boycott a hotel or city tied to the movement against gay rights — but members rejected the idea only when an alternative idea was presented involving numerous sessions at the 2010 meeting.
The historians’ vote was similar to moves by the National Communication Association and the American Political Science Association, which stuck with planned locations but pledged to add programming to assert their opposition to anti-gay measures. The Association of American Law Schools, while not calling off a contract with a hotel at the center of the controversy, is scheduling official events for its meeting this week at an adjoining hotel.
The hotel in question is also the headquarters hotel for next year’s AHA meeting — the Manchester Grand Hyatt, in San Diego. Its owner, Doug Manchester, was a major contributor to the campaign on behalf of Proposition 8, which barred gay marriage in California. Gay rights groups — along with some labor groups that object to the hotel’s treatment of its workers — have banded together to call for boycotting the hotel, and some academics have said that they would not attend meetings in such venues. The AHA, like most scholarly groups, negotiates contracts for convention hotels years in advance — and in this case well before the hotel became controversial because of its owner.
The resolution presented at the AHA’s business meeting called for a boycott, stating that “the AHA should hold its annual meetings in venues that uphold the anti-discrimination standards that the AHA expects from academic professionals and institutions” and that the association “should not force its members to choose between honoring the boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego and attending the annual meeting.”
Arnita Jones, executive director of the AHA, said that under the contract with the hotel, the association would owe $534,000 for breaking the deal now. The association would also lose another $181,000 in lost discounts negotiated with the hotel for meeting room equipment and related services, she said.
Nobody at the meeting defended Manchester or Proposition 8, but as soon as the resolution came up for discussion, a proposal emerged to replace it with an alternative. That plan, later adopted instead of the boycott, called for the association to create many special programs about issues related to gay marriage and to place those sessions in the Manchester Grand Hyatt to make a statement against the hotel’s owner.
Further, the alternative called for the association to spend up to $100,000 to support these programs as well as anything necessary to make it possible for people to stay at alternative hotels and to find transportation to and from the Manchester. The job center — where departments conduct interviews — is at an adjacent hotel, so AHA officials assured members that job seekers and those doing interviews next year could stay out of the Manchester if they wished.
Some historians objected to the alternative to the boycott, saying that if the AHA leaders really cared, they would have offered the plan before the boycott proposal arrived, and adding that they didn’t want to give their money to Manchester.
Barbara Weinstein, a professor of history at New York University who is a past AHA president and who sponsored the alternative to the boycott, said that breaking the contract with the hotel wouldn’t help anyone but Doug Manchester. “If we boycott, he gets more money,” she said. “He will be getting our money no matter what.” But the plan to hold sessions on gay rights issues at the hotel “thumbs our nose” at Manchester without “coming close to bankrupting our association,” she said.
One scholar said he wasn’t satisfied with this response. “I write about gender and sexuality. I am not going to talk and sit in the hotel of a homophobe,” he said.
Most of the historians, however, accepted the compromise. The vote to replace the boycott with the alternative passed overwhelmingly.
3. BU Today, January 6, 2009
10 Lenox Street, Brookline, MA 02446
Out Loud: The Public Face for Gay Rights in America
Joe Solmonese (COM’87), president of the Human Rights Campaign, speaks to BU students about the accomplishments of the LGBT community
Joe Solmonese (COM’87), president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest political network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in the United States, speaks to Boston University students about the accomplishments of the LGBT community during the last two decades. Solmonese reflects on what it was like to be a gay college student during the height of the Reagan administration and the AIDS crisis. “Not only were there no LGBT groups on campus, but there was only one out gay guy,” he says. “And it wasn’t me.”
Two decades later, he says, the LGBT community has made enormous strides, both on and off BU’s campus, particularly in the past four years. “The 1990s and early 2000s were largely defensive eras,” he says. “We were fighting against federal marriage amendments and fighting for hate crime legislation. But we’ve since entered an age where we can advance more proactive agendas.”
Solmonese encourages members of the LGBT community to come out to their families, friends, and colleagues. “We must be out and proud,” he says, “because every time one of us comes out, it moves public opinion. We must erase the hatred in this country.”
October 23, 2008, 4 p.m.
Howard Thurman Center
About the speaker:
Joe Solmonese became the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest political network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) equality in the United States, in 2005. He is at the forefront of the gay rights movement. In the past year alone, he has appeared on national television to question Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the issue of marriage equality, hosted a weekly GLBT-themed show on XM Satellite Radio, and gone head-to-head with Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.
A native of Attleboro, Massachusetts, Solmonese lives in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication in 1987 with a bachelor of science in communications. He is the former chief executive officer of EMILY’s List, one of the nation’s prominent Democratic political action committees, which aims to help elect progressive, prochoice female candidates to office.
Solmonese traces his interest in politics to his senior year at BU, when he interned in the scheduling office of Michael Dukakis, then governor of Massachusetts. He later campaigned for Barney Frank during the Bay State Democrat’s 1990 congressional bid.
As HRC president, Solmonese lobbies politicians on Capitol Hill and travels across the country to speak on matters of social justice, marriage equality, health-care benefits, and hate crime legislation.
4. Capital Newspapers, Inc., 77 Square, January 7, 2009
1901 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, WI 53711
UW Press adds second gay travel book to prestigious list
By Heather Lee Schroeder
Any new book is launched amid an atmosphere of trepidation in the publishing industry. Book sales have fallen as the economy continues to tighten, and publishers have responded with pay cuts, layoffs and other measures, such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's November announcement that it was freezing all acquisitions of new books for publication.
"Book sales have deteriorated since the beginning of October, falling about 7 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of sales," a Jan. 4 New York Times article reported. "That slide is driving much of the immediate cutbacks, but the publishing industry is also being convulsed by longer-term trends, including a shift toward digital reading and competition from an array of entertainment options like video games and online social networking."
The Internet may be changing the way people read, but University of Wisconsin Press Acquisitions Editor Raphael Kadushin wants to hang on to what makes good writing endure: narrative and attention to detail.
"Big Trips: More Good Gay Travel Writing" is a follow-up volume to "Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing" (2004), and offers a collection of 12 longer narrative essays chronicling life-altering trips and featuring writers such as Dale Peck, Edmund White and Mack Friedman. It's the antithesis of the quick-bite, guidebook-style form of travel writing that is in vogue lately.
"I do think that, in general, the way people read now is very different from the way they read, even 10 years ago, especially when it comes to travel writing," Kadushin said. "They are much more used to consumer-oriented travel writing that establishes a very different way of reading and thinking about writing."
Kadushin doesn't think there's anything inherently wrong with quick bites of information. But he also believes that sidelining classic travel writing completely is short-sighted, and given the success of "Wonderlands," he knows readers agree.
"Big Trips" highlights just a small portion of the excellent narrative-style travel writing that many readers are missing, he said.
In case some readers might think that a book with the subtitle "More Good Gay Travel Writing" is for one specialized niche of readers, "Big Trips" doesn't read primarily as gay literature. Kadushin said he thinks gay writers tend to do an especially good job of capturing the rhythms of travel -- perhaps because of their ability to "read a culture as an outsider."
Under Kadushin's editorial guidance, UW Press has developed one of the most prestigious gay lists in the country, publishing fiction and memoir that is both literary and literate. His eye for quality writing that transcends easy labels is reflected in books such as "Big Trips."
As a small organization, UW Press can take chances on writing that larger publishing houses might pass by.
"I would not choose a story just because it's gay," Kadushin said of his process of choosing stories for "Big Trips. "It has to resonate on a universal level. And I think of all of this as post-gay, defining why we have this urge to travel and how that helps us define our sense of home."
Writers were eager to participate in the project. Many of the authors had already worked with Kadushin and the press, and they immediately submitted one or more pieces for consideration.
In fact, none of the contributors will receive royalties (i.e. profit) from the book's sales. All profits from the book will be funneled back into the press to support the organization's gay list.
"Established name writers realize that the future for literature is in the small university presses and other small presses," Kadushin said of this generosity.
The conglomeration that has whittled the big publishing houses down into an increasingly smaller and smaller number of companies has also served to narrow large publishers' vision to a very thin tunnel, focused primarily on what will sell.
"Big houses have essentially become best-seller mills," Kadushin said. "Some profit used to go back into supporting literary lists, but now most of the companies are owned by movie studios or German conglomerates, and the focus isn't on literature."
In contrast, small independent presses and university presses can break even on a book or make a small profit and be content with the results, he said. In fact, he said his main imperative as an acquisitions editor is to choose good books that are worth reading and that make a contribution to the field of study. "We are (often) publishing books that wouldn't otherwise be published," he said.
And although the successes UW Press has had in recent years on books -- such Rigoberto Gonzlez's "Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa" and Mack Friedman's "Setting the Lawn on Fire: A Novel" -- might seem modest by big press standards, Kadushin said that's just fine with the UW Press.
"They are modest wins, but our goals are modest," he said. "I have no embarrassment about saying they're modest. We are reclaiming voices, breaking even and getting these books the attention they deserve, and given what's happening these days (in publishing), that's a big win."
As for "Big Trips," the collection has already garnered critical attention, and the UW Press has joined forces with W Hotels for an innovative way to market the book. The authors will do a series of readings at key hotel locations such as San Francisco and Chicago, and guests who buy a certain package from the hotel will get a copy of the book and other goodies.
Kadushin said he's excited about the W Hotel deal because it's a creative way to get the book into the hands of readers he knows will enjoy the writing.
"The struggle is not finding good books, because there are so many of them out there," he said. "The struggle is getting (the books) the visibility they deserve. We're getting better at finding unique ways to reach readers."
5. The Malibu Times, January 7, 2009
3864 Las Flores Canyon Road, Malibu, CA 90265
Professor's defense of Prop 8 puts Pepperdine in crossfires
By Olivia Damavandi
Pepperdine University Dean of Law Kenneth Starr's involvement in a lawsuit to nullify 18,000 gay marriages performed before Proposition 8 was passed in November, and advertisements by another university professor that supported the measure, have led to many believing the university is sending out homophobic sentiments, but the professors say they are protecting the majority's vote.
The university's president, Andrew Benton, said he could not comment on the issue.
The Malibu Times received letters advocating the boycott of the university because, as one from an unnamed Pepperdine alumnus read, it is "leading a hate campaign against gays and lesbians in the state of California."
Responding to this sentiment, Jerry Derloshon, Pepperdine University director of Public Relations and News, said on Monday in an interview, "That's a definite no. Any assertion to that affect is grossly untrue."
During the campaign period of Prop 8, a proposed law to ban same-sex marriage, Richard M. Peterson, assistant professor of law and director of the Special Education Clinic at Pepperdine University, appeared in televised advertisements in support of the measure. The name of the university initially appeared in the advertisements, was then later removed at the request of Pepperdine officials, and finally reinserted and followed by the statement, "for identification purposes only."
Shortly after Prop 8 passed, three lawsuits were filed by three different opponents of the proposition from San Francisco, which have been bundled into one lawsuit, claiming that such a law could not be enacted as an initiative amendment, but rather only by a constitutional "revision," which requires either a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or a statewide Constitutional convention vote.
Responding to the legal challenges in mid-December, state Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. agreed with the official proponents that Proposition 8 was properly enacted by voter initiative, and therefore did not require a vote of the Legislature. The Attorney General also rejected claims by Prop 8 opponents that the measure violated the separation of powers between the branches of government.
However, in his December brief, the Attorney General proposed a new, unprecedented legal theory that Proposition 8-despite being a properly enacted constitutional amendment-is itself unconstitutional because it violates "inalienable or natural rights."
This led the California Supreme Court to ask Proposition 8's official proponents, who have engaged Starr as lead council to "defend the people's vote," to file a brief responding to the Attorney General's new "inalienable rights" theory.
Andrew Pugno, general council for the official proponents of the Proposition 8 campaign, said on Monday in an interview with The Malibu Times, "We are responding to lawsuits filed by people who oppose Prop 8 that are seeking to invalidate the people's vote. They want the court to say that Prop 8 is invalid and therefore same sex marriage would become legal again."
Pugno said when the three lawsuits were filed, the Supreme Court asked all parties to analyze the legal status of the marriages performed prior to the election, which amounted to a total of 18,000.
When asked why the official proponents are seeking to nullify the 18,000 marriages, Pugno stated, "The bottom line is Prop 8 doesn't include any exclusions or exceptions for existing same-sex marriage. Only marriage between a man and woman is valid in the state of California, so we think it's quite simple [as to why the marriages should be invalidated]."
"We are defending the people's vote," Pugno said. "We can't be expected to do nothing."
Douglas W. Kmiec. professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine, said he doesn't think the court will invalidate the marriages performed before the passing of Proposition 8.
"I think it would be a serious violation of principles or due process to set aside those marriages," Kmiec said. "The Supreme Court of California interpreted the [state] Constitution as it then existed to mean that marriage as a fundamental right should be extended to same sex couples as traditional couples, and also found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was to engage in the use of a suspect classification. Those who came forward seeking to be married by the state of California in light of that ruling should be given the benefit of the law as it then existed."
Pugno said the last round of legal briefs is due Jan. 21. "At some point after that, the court will schedule a hearing possibly as early as March," he said.
Meanwhile, some people's perception of Pepperdine has changed.
Although Benton did not want to talk overall about the issue, he did comment to The Malibu Times in an e-mail that Peterson and Starr have been "bombarded" by "inappropriate e-mail" and letters threatening a boycott of the university.
Derloshon said Pepperdine was required by law to remain neutral during the Proposition 8 election campaign leading up to the vote, and that both Starr and Peterson are involved as individuals and do not represent the views of the university.
"He [Starr] is regarded throughout the country as one of the nation's leading constitutional scholars," Derloshon said. "Here at Pepperdine, he engages his students in learning experiences. He is an educator on one hand, but a constitutional scholar and a counselor who is active in the professional legal field.
"Starr is not speaking on behalf of Pepperdine, he has engaged himself in a variety of cases."
Regarding how Starr's and Peterson's involvement in Prop 8 will affect prospective Pepperdine students, Derloshon said, "I think there can be some backlash to the segment of the population in the country who would make a quick assumption that Pepperdine must be bigoted. But thinking, more considerate people who aren't so quick to judge may learn from an inquiry or an e-mail that Pepperdine as an institution is anything but bigoted."
A current Pepperdine law school student who wished to remain anonymous said he received e-mails from his family as soon as it was announced that Starr was going to join the legal representation of Proposition 8.
"Even though there was a part of me emotionally that got frustrated, you have to remove yourself from that initial reaction because at the end of the day you're dealing with something that has real world implications," the student said.
"As much as I disagree with what Ken Starr is doing, he's one individual of the school and he's not representative of it," the student continued.
6. Washington Times, January 8, 2009
3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
DUIN: College decrees welcome for gays
By Julia Duin
Last week, I got a curious tip. Protestants at Georgetown University have been directed to sponsor an event to be "welcoming" to the new campus gay rights center.
Leaders of Georgetown's council of 12 Protestant ministries are meeting Jan. 12 to discuss just how to do this.
I began calling around. Four evangelical Protestant chaplains, all of whom are from ministries that believe homosexual activity is sinful, confirmed they got this mandate from the Rev. Constance C. Wheeler, the lead Protestant chaplain, who was passing along instructions from the president of Georgetown University, John J. DeGioia.
In the fall of 2007, Mr. DeGioia promised the university would fund a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and "questioning" (LGBTQ) students within the year. GU Pride, the campus gay rights group, demanded such a center after a Sept. 9, 2007, gay-bashing incident off campus.
Although the 19-year-old sophomore who was first charged with assault later had his charges dropped, that incident led to much soul-searching at Georgetown. One decision was to have a campus resource center for gay students "in a manner consistent with Georgetown's Catholic and Jesuit identity," Mr. DeGioia said.
Its new director -- Shiva Subbaraman -- has been hired, and the Protestants have been asked to conduct at least one joint activity. The ministers with whom I talked said they heard that all religious organizations were being told to do this; however, chaplains for Muslim and Jewish students told me they had gotten no such directions.
"We were never asked to do this," said Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain, adding that homosexual activity is forbidden among Muslims. "We were not asked to be 'welcoming' in any shape or form but to speak out against anti-gay incidents."
Several folks in the Protestant chaplain's office declined comment or ordered their remarks be kept off the record. Ms. Wheeler professed ignorance, saying she'd been out of the office in recent months because of an injury.
The university press office sent me a long letter by Mr. DeGioia on the university's "LGBTQ initiative." Nothing was said about religious groups being instructed to work with the new center.
However, that message was definitely conveyed to the Protestant ministries leaders. Six of these ministries -- all evangelical -- are the same groups that were kicked off campus two years ago after being told all Protestant ministries were being "restructured." After much bad publicity, Georgetown eventually readmitted them.
Now they're being asked to welcome a group some have serious philosophical objections to. Let's turn this around. In the name of dialogue, should gay students be ordered to dialogue with ex-gay leaders? Should Jewish students be told to talk with Jews for Jesus?
I am guessing that won't happen at Georgetown. For now, the evangelical Protestants are looking on the bright side.
"There is no requirement that we endorse or embrace the [gay] lifestyle," said Carrie Whelpley, the Campus Crusade for Christ representative. "The idea behind [the meeting] is there's often tension between campus ministries and [gay] students."
"We've been asked to do one joint activity," said Randy Demary, a leader of the campus' Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. "We've got a lot of latitude to shape what that event will be."
Contact Julia Duin at email@example.com
7. WKYC.com, January 8, 2009
1333 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114
Inaugural invite for Case Western professor
CLEVELAND -- A Case Western Reserve University history professor is among 16 people selected to join President-elect Barack Obama on his Whistle-Stop tour to the inauguration.
Professor Lisa Hazirjian was selected for her volunteer work here in Cleveland, with the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community.
The Whistle-Stop tour to the White House officially starts a week, from Saturday in Philadelphia, but the true beginning Professor Hazirjian says was when she was denied a tenured professor opportunity at another college because she is gay.
So determined by the prejudice against her, Hazirjian set out to organize Ohio's gay community behind Barack Obama.
"We have a President that understands that gay rights are civil rights. That means a lot of obstacles that existed for the last eight years are gone," Professor Hazirjian said.
Hazirjian says there were over 6,500 Obama campaign volunteers from the gay community statewide.
"We were second only to organized labor in terms of the amount of volunteer time we put in on the campaign," Professor Hazirjian said.
For her efforts, Professor Hazirjian and domestic partner, Michelle will join the President-elect, and 15 other "everyday Americans" for three days leading up to the inauguration as well as the main event.
"I want to thank him for such an honorable and honest and intellectual campaign, one that brought up so much hope in the campaign," Michelle said.
Professor Hazirjian played a role in the election of the new president, but the Whistle-Stop tour is not the end of the line for her grassroots campaigning.
"It's really up to us to continue being involved as grassroots activists to continue pushing these issues forward, " Professor Hazirjian said.
8. Gay and Lesbian Times, January 8, 2009
P.O. Box 34624, San Diego, CA 92163
Commentary: Beyond the Briefs - Law school group should oust anti-gay organizations
By Robert Dekoven
The American Association of Law Schools (AALS) is meeting this week at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
The group consists of staff from most of the nation’s 200 law schools and has long been at the fore in fighting anti-gay discrimination.
In particular, the AALS opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). It joined with other groups in challenging the policy, and it requires member schools to take efforts to educate law students that DADT discriminates against GLBT military personnel.
Consequently, thanks to the AALS standards, most of our nation’s law schools do not engage in anti-gay bias.
But there are exception – schools such as Brigham Young University (BYU) and Pepperdine University (PU).
Historically, neither school has tolerated openly gay students, because doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs.
But, in order to placate the AALS, these schools and others like them, now admit gay students so long as the students don’t have sex with members of their own gender while enrolled.
The schools argue this is a fair policy because it also applies to straight students, who are also required by their religion to remain celibate until marriage.
(Of course, both BYU and Pepperdine played a key role in passing Proposition 8, which would have allowed gays to marry, but school officials appear to have overlooked this conundrum.)
The American Association of Law Schools should dump these schools from its voluntary membership, and it should encourage the Department of Education to revoke their federal funding.
But this policy isn’t fair; it’s disingenuous. It’s designed to discourage gay students from attending these tax-supported (via financial aid) schools. Rather than say, “No gays allowed,” the schools use a policy that turns on “marital status.” It’s akin to saying, “We don’t discriminate against women, but only humans possessing a penis may apply.” The policy is designed to have a disparate impact and effect on gay people.
The AALS should dump these schools from its voluntary membership, and it should encourage the Department of Education (DOE) to revoke their federal funding.
The DOE should follow the example of our California Supreme Court, which ruled last year that the state does not have to provide benefits to entities that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and, further, that entities that justify discrimination based upon their religious views cannot do so if they offer their services to the public.
After all, there’s nothing in the law curriculum at Pepperdine that requires discrimination based upon sexual orientation. It’s not as if it’s a seminary.
If such schools want to engage in anti-gay discrimination, that’s their choice under the Constitution. But neither federal nor state governments should support this practice. The California State Bar, for example, does not have to accredit or recognize graduates from law schools that engage in discrimination based upon race, gender, or sexual orientation.
And it is a real issue. In the Dec. 10 issue of the Deseret News, Tad Walch reports that BYU removed student Michael Wiltbank’s photo exhibit from a BYU building. The exhibit featured photos of self-identified gay BYU students, along with photos of those who supported them. The exhibit did not indicate who was gay or lesbian. Wiltbank wanted to use the exhibit to show support and tolerance for gays and lesbians.
The exhibit re-appeared four days after BYU officials removed it. The officials said there had been a “miscommunication,” and that the exhibit should not have been taken down.
Puhleeze. These schools are using religion as a pretext for discrimination. It’s apparent in their policies and in practices like this one that send a message of intolerance to gay students, whether they’re celibate or not.
Robert DeKoven is a professor at California Western School of Law.
9. Winston Salem Journal, JournalNow.com, January 10, 2009
P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27102
Christian group joins campus-wide projects
By Amy Green
Josh Spavin knows the stereotypes about evangelical Christians -- judgmental, sanctimonious, narrow-minded. He may not buy into the image, but he knows how real -- and damaging -- it can be.
So that's why Spavin, a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida and an intern with the university's chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ International, wants to start an HIV/AIDS outreach with a campus gay-lesbian group.
"Because of the way they perceive us," Spavin, 25 said. "What we wanted to do is find common ground where we can serve along side with them.... We don't necessarily agree with their choices, because that's not part of our faith, but we still love them."
Campus Crusade -- an organization that once denounced rock music only to later embrace it -- is once again changing with the times, engaging potential new Christians through social issues that perhaps seemed taboo in the past. Unofficially nicknamed "Good News, Good Deeds," the initiative at UCF, and others like it, is a ground-up effort by one of the nation's largest evangelical groups.
It also provides a peek at what issues young evangelicals see as important and how they are changing a faith that they inherited from their parents but sometimes chafe against.
"Young evangelicals in particular are very conscious about poverty and the environment, and they tend to be more tolerant on issues such as gay rights and homosexuality," said John Turner, an assistant professor of history at the University of South Alabama and the author of the new book, Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America.
"Evangelicals and evangelical organizations, they do have a big public-relations problem of being known for intolerance or homophobia or not being concerned enough about social issues, and I think their desire is to correct that image," he said.
Campus Crusade was founded in 1951 by the late Bill Bright and his wife, Vonette. Today, the ministry has 55,000 student members at nearly 1,100 U.S. campuses, and is active in 191 countries.
"Students today realize that connecting to other people, that just to tell the story or talk about Christianity doesn't seem to completely connect," said Chip Scivicque, a 30-year Campus Crusade veteran who is at Auburn University in Alabama. "There's this desire to live out the Christian life and live out Gospel truth so that when those truths are explained they make more sense."
Last year at Michigan State University, Campus Crusade partnered with other organizations on several events to draw attention to the international sex-slave trade. The biggest event drew about 1,000 for a mock Price Is Right-type of game show in which contestants bid not on prizes but people.
Paul Hardaloupas, a 25-year-old Michigan State graduate who is on staff for Campus Crusade, is planning more events for the spring semester, including one focused on rape.
Back at UCF, Spavin attributes the new interest in social justice issues to a more global world.
Internet-savvy young adults read about AIDS and poverty afflicting the world -- and they want to do something, Spavin said. Just before Christmas, Spavin's group joined with a gay student group, a pro-marijuana group and fraternities and sororities to gather gifts for underprivileged children. More than 400 shoeboxes of gifts were collected for Samaritan's Purse for distribution worldwide.
10. Montgomery Advertiser, January 11, 2009
425 Molton St, Montgomery, AL 36104
Students protest on Capitol steps
By Alvin Benn
Dozens of gay students demonstrated Saturday afternoon on the steps of the Capitol, shouting slogans and urging the repeal of federal and state laws they consider unfair to them.
Booker T. Washington Magnet High School student Daniel Davis, who organized the protest, said a "changing national culture" has caused many gays to put aside long-held fears and voice their concerns in public.
"More and more people are coming out," said Davis, who said the Alabama pro test was part of a national protest Saturday by gays to urge President-elect Barack Obama to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. "Society is just more open to us today."
Davis, who said he plans to enroll at Huntingdon College this fall to major in English and pursue his dream of teaching or becoming a copy editor, said "we're trying to get a million signatures on petitions to present to him."
Many of the protesters were high school seniors, but several attended the University of Alabama, including Kendal French who said he was the "son of a Baptist preacher" in Kentucky.
"I'm not out to my family, partly because they are paying my tuition," said French, a freshman. "I told my grandmother shortly be fore she passed away and she said she wouldn't tell my father because she was afraid he might cut me off."
French said Alabama "is not a gay-friendly state," but he chose to come down from Kentucky "to get away from home and be myself."
Sporting a multi-colored boa over an "I Love Drag" T-shirt, French stood out in the colorful crowd and seemed to be enjoying his moment in the sun.
Samantha Silor of Birmingham said she supports the gay movement, but would not classify herself.
"I don't think I'm ever going to come out because I don't think I fit into any of the boxes," she said. "I don't feel I have to declare myself as straight, gay, bisexual or anything."
Silor said she believes the U.S. is suffering from "an epidemic of hate," but held out hope for Alabama because of Saturday's protest at the seat of state government.
"We can say that even in Alabama, in the Bible Belt, there are people who are willing to stand up for hu man rights and fight stereo types," she said. "We've made great progress in re cent years."
She said she and her friends were representing "Spectrum," an organization that supports human rights.
Sonnie Wilcox identified herself as bisexual and said she currently is in a hetero sexual relationship. She said she was taking part in the protest to support her gay friends.
"It's going very well," she said of her relationship.
Most of the protesters said they supported repeal of a controversial California law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Several of the protesters held signs in support of the gay movement. One said: "Two Wedding Dresses Are Better Than One" while an other proclaimed: "I Love Gays."
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