Group protests Notre Dame’s “anti-gay” policies

By: Nick McGurk Email
By: Nick McGurk Email

The demonstration comes roughly two weeks after the Notre Dame Observer newspaper published an anti-gay cartoon. Since then, an assistant managing editor has resigned.

Organizers say Wednesday’s demonstration was in response to the cartoon – but they also say that lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people are discriminated against under Notre Dame policy. That, they say, is nothing new.

"This is a way to show the university that this is not just a small group of students that think this is a problem here on campus, but that there are a lot of supporters for this issue,” said Jessica Mahon, who helped organize the demonstration.

The group headed toward Notre Dame’s main building, where they stood outside on the steps to read the letter.

"Father Jenkins, the time is right to pursue full justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual students, and their heterosexual allies,” read Laurel Javors, a demonstration organizer.

The letter says that lesbian, gay bisexual and heterosexual allies have made tremendous progress over the years – but more needs to be done.

"We must move beyond words, and into concrete actions, which fully bring us into equality at Notre Dame,” read Javors to the group outside Notre Dame’s main building.

Members of the group waited to hand the letter to Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame's president. Eventually an assitant from the president’s office took the letter.

And like that, the demonstration ended. The push for change, organizers say, has not.

Later in the afternoon the university released a statement. In it, the university talks about its “Spirit of Inclusion” Statement dating back to 1997.

The university statement also referred to the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students, a group led mostly by students.

The university’s statement is below:

Notre Dame is firmly committed to fostering a campus culture that welcomes all people, regardless of color, gender, religion, sexual orientation or other distinctions. After considerable study from theological as well as legal perspectives, the University decided on the “Spirit of Inclusion” as the official University statement reflecting our commitment to an inclusive community. That statement was adopted based on the conclusion that we are unwilling to leave to civil courts the interpretation of University decisions that are made on the basis of Church teaching on sexual orientation and conduct. In addition, we have established a very active and effective organization called the Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students. The council is led primarily by students and provides support, programming, education and other services on campus. We believe these two initiatives, in particular, have led over the past decade to substantial progress in promoting a more inclusive culture on this campus.

Even with this progress, however, we know we can improve, and we look forward to working with faculty, staff, students and alumni to enhance our current framework and make Notre Dame an even better place to live, work and study.

The “Spirit of Inclusion” and a full explanation of its adoption are available online at:

More information on the Core Council is at:

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