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February 18, 2020 (Joseph Sciambra) — On February 14, 2020, Gonzaga University opened its new Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic on its Spokane, WA, campus. According Jacob Rooksby, dean at Gonzaga’s School of Law: “Gonzaga Law School is one of only a handful of institutions of higher education across the nation to launch this kind of initiative.”

From a press release announcing the opening of the LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic:

Gonzaga will join law schools at universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Emory, and UCLA in the development of an LGBTQ+ clinic, all of which are focused on outreach and promoting reforms that support those who are marginalized and underserved because of their gender identity or expression.

Jason Gillmer, professor and director of Gonzaga’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, said:

“The Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic provides a special opportunity for Gonzaga law students to help protect and advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, both regionally and nationally.” He continued: “Through the Center, the clinic will also provide students and faculty with opportunities to engage in broader policy discussions about LGBTQ+ rights as we continue to strive for equality.”

The Clinic received a “significant donation” from Gonzaga alumnus Joe Lincoln — who also serves as a Regent of the University; Lincoln also donated $100,000 towards Gonzaga’s LGBT Center called the Lincoln LGBT Center — the first such center at a Jesuit university. In 2016, the Center hosted a drag show, attended by professor of philosophy Fr. Timothy Clancy, in honor of “pride” week.

According to the Center’s web-page:

We want Gonzaga’s queer people and queer persons of color to know that your LGBTQ+ resource center is a place you can relax with people who will not only accept you, but also do what we can to help you develop holistically throughout your time at Gonzaga, in the spirit of our university’s Jesuit underpinnings.

Several other Jesuit universities in the U.S. have a history of LGBT advocacy; they include: The University of San Francisco, Fordham, Seattle University, Creighton University, and Georgetown.

Published with permission from Joseph Sciambra.

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