Back-to-school not welcoming to all LGBTQ-students in Massachusetts

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Back-to-school not welcoming to all LGBTQ-students in Massachusetts

It's back-to-school season for most and stepping back into the scene isn't easy for a lot of students—especially LGBTQ  students.

LGBTQ-phobias abound in the hallowed halls of higher learning and, unfortunately, we have to confront them here in Massachusetts, an A+ queer-friendly state. I pray for LGBTQ freshman students walking into Gordon College. Most will be totally unaware of Michael Lindsay, their college president, and his anti-gay actions.

Gordon College is a small conservative Christian college on the North Shore. It prides itself on upholding the tenets of religious freedom. And in so doing, the college tested its boundaries with the recent Supreme Court case “Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.” 

With the "Hobby Lobby" case ruling that family-owned corporations citing religious objection could now opt out of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that required employers to cover certain contraceptives for women, Gordon's Lindsay, along with 14 influential religious leaders from across the country—asked  Obama for an exemption banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. (Immediately following the "Hobby Lobby decision the Supreme Court granted Wheaton College, another evangelical  Christian liberal arts college outside of Chicago a  temporary injunction allowing the college to refuse providing contraception.)

Lindsay and his band of homophobes framed their request to the president, by email, c/o Melissa Rogers, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, under the guise of religious freedom. 

The letter stated the following:
“As religious and civic leaders who seek to advance the common good, we write to urge you to include a religious exemption in your planned executive order addressing federal contractors and LGBT employment policies.

This ability is essential in light of our national conversation on political and cultural issues related to sexuality…Without a robust religious exemption, like the provisions in the Senate-passed ENDA, this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.”

The ban to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the hiring process outraged so many alumni, students, family and friends of Gordon College that a petition was written to Lindsay  to rescind his request. While there are certainly a cadre of LGBTQ- friendly professors, administrators and students at Gordon it’s not an easy campus to be out on.

Paul Miller, a 2008 Gordon graduate  and co-founder of  the LGBTQ group