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A red carpet for Obergefell

| Thursday, March 28, 2019

Recently Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court Case that legalized marriage between those of the same sex, was invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame Law Forum.

To keep it brief, we were ecstatic.

For regardless of our own career aspirations, personal interests or political ideologies, many understood that with the presence of Mr. Obergefell, maybe those who truly felt marginalized on campus would be ever closer to coming out of the shadows.

In February 2018, Notre Dame administered an anonymous survey to assess the overall climate on campus related to diversity and inclusion. This survey, which encompassed questions about race, political affiliation and, yes, sexual orientation/gender identity, highlighted many places where the University could improve for the better. This survey highlighted astonishing facts, none of which were surprising for those within the LGBTQ community.

For I am not surprised that over 230 students currently on campus have personally experienced adverse treatment due to their sexual orientation. I am not surprised that 73 percent of these students have received verbal comments attacking their identities, and I am not surprised that I may never know the names or faces of these students even as a leader in the LGBTQ community.  

However, what I am surprised at is the bigotry and insensitivity that continues to be displayed by a handful of trifling Notre Dame students and alumni.

In a letter to the editor of The Observer — “Why is Notre Dame rolling out the red carpet for Jim Obergefell?” — the author contends that no one “forced” LGBTQ students to apply or enroll and is disappointed that we “insist on loudly dissenting.” As a member of the admissions team at Notre Dame and as a current student, I can promise you, no student signs up to willingly be cast aside by their institution and excluded.

What we sign up for is to become a part of the Notre Dame family. As a Catholic institution, we are called to extend ourselves along the margins to foster a spirt of love and inclusion far beyond what is expected. No student is an exception.

So excuse us, for the red carpet awaits.

Kendrick Peterson


March 26

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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