Earlier this year, D. Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, a private Christian school that receives federal funding, signed onto a letter asking President Obama to allow them to continue discriminating against LGBT people despite his Executive Order forbidding federally-funded groups from doing such a thing.
That request is now coming back to haunt the college in another way: The Hamilton Wenham Regional School District was planning to hold its high school graduation ceremony on Gordon’s campus. Now, some students are requesting that the venue be changed because they don’t want to be associated with an anti-gay school:
Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School Principal Eric Tracy told school board members last week he was approached individually by six students who had concerns about holding graduation at Gordon. Their concerns were mainly motivated by the controversy, he said, although there were general issues raised about holding graduation in a chapel.
Tracy assured committee members there were other venues where they could host the ceremonies.
“If we held graduation at the gym at Pingree we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” Superintendent Michael Harvey told committee members.
The board ultimately agreed to give Tracy time to follow up with the students and research any related legal issues that could affect the school and report back to the board on Jan. 22. After that, a public hearing would likely be scheduled to allow the public to weigh in. Board members also wanted to invite Gordon to give input.
To be clear, it’s not like openly gay students would have been barred from attending graduation, and there was no evidence that there would be proselytizing at the event. This protest is purely on principle.
It would be wonderful to see more students join the chorus of voices protesting the graduation venue and take a stand on behalf of their LGBT friends and peers. Make Gordon leaders publicly accountable for their bigotry and prove to them that a bunch of teenagers are more tolerant and inclusive than the adults who are supposed to be guiding them into their future.
It’ll be a few weeks before a final decision is reached, but if other venues are available, that should make a switch even easier.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)