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A call to end discrimination

| Tuesday, February 25, 2014

There has been a lot of discussion amongst Notre Dame students lately about whether states should have the right to discriminate against gay people, but perhaps we should take a look inward before criticizing others. We attend a university that reserves the right to discriminate against someone on the basis of his or her sexual orientation alone. Notre Dame claims it wants to foster an atmosphere of love and respect towards gay people, but it insists on the right to fire a faculty member solely because he or she is gay.

The student and faculty senate both passed resolutions calling for the University to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination clause last year, but the University refused, declining to provide an explanation. Even the Catholic Catechism states, “every sign of unjust discrimination in their [gay people’s] regard should be avoided.” This begs the question, why is the University of Notre Dame so homophobic that it even violates the Catholic Catechism?

This mystery may as well be resolved during closed-door conversations, when the politically-incorrect homophobia of the University bares its ugly face. The amount of times someone at this University has told me it is “f***ed up to be gay” is innumerable. There is a widespread disgust of homosexuality that permeates our Catholic culture, and the consequences of it are devastating.

Many students choose not to come out to their dorm mates because they are afraid they will not be accepted, and their fear is not baseless. We miss out on many talented faculty members because they are either gay and fear discrimination, or because they are morally opposed to the University’s lack of a non-discrimination clause. And most unfortunately, we harm our gay peers by repeatedly telling them there is something so wrong with them we might want to kick them out of Notre Dame.

It is outright disrespectful to deny a request made by both the student body and the faculty without even offering a reason. It is truly depressing that we have allowed our beloved University to deny some of our most basic human rights. But we can change it.

We must shout in the University’s face and continue shouting ad nauseam until something is done. We must do what people our age do best: protest to effect a necessary change. It is not good enough to be satisfied with the progress of the gay civil rights movement at the national level. We must first protect the basic human dignity of our friends at the place we call home.

Stephen Hawn
O’Neill Hall
Feb. 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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