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Kimberly Scharfenberger

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Report by pro same-sex ‘marriage’ group touted at Gonzaga

Kimberly Scharfenberger

The Gonzaga University director for "special student populations" indicated that the results of a new Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report are a step in the right direction, The Gonzaga Bulletin reported in a recent article, despite the fact that both HRC and the new report support same-sex marriage.

The HRC report detailed the “status of LGBT equality” in cities across the nation and noted that 2014 marked “incredible advances toward marriage equality in states across the nation,” adding that “we celebrate these victories, but know our work is far from over.”

According to the Bulletin’s coverage, “all six cities rated in Washington scored higher than the national average,” with Spokane, Wash., the city in which GU is located, scoring five points above the national average.

The HRC report specified that cities were judged on six criteria, including “non-discrimination laws,” “relationship recognition,” “municipality as employer,” “municipal services,” “fair enforcement of the law,” and the city leadership’s “relationship with the LGBT community.”

“For GU, the numbers are a step in the right direction, according to Director of Special Student Populations Jaime Hollis,” the Bulletin reported.

“That’s the bare minimum standard we should achieve, is legislation,” Hollis reportedly told the Bulletin. “I think what we can do is we can move toward a place where we celebrate and we have an integrated experience of LGBT people.”

According to the Bulletin, study author Catharyn Oakley noted that Washington “has really good state laws,” adding that “we’re already talking about having an inclusion non-discrimination law, we’re already talking about [having] marriage equality.”

“GU is leading the way in some areas of LGBT equality, ” the article noted, adding that the University was also “one of the first Jesuit, Catholic universities to have an openly credited gay-straight alliance and the first to institute an LGBT resource center.”

The Bulletin additionally reported that Hollis encouraged students to get more involved “by becoming allies… and by supporting organizations like HERO on campus.” HERO (Helping Educate Regarding Orientation) is “a gay-straight alliance group” at Gonzaga which aims “to eliminate discrimination and increase understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in our community,” according to the group’s website.

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The Cardinal Newman Society previously reported on events hosted by HERO at GU, including “DRAG tabling” and a “bisexuality panel” in conjunction with the University’s celebration of “Pride Week.”

According to the Bulletin, the student president of HERO sees the results from HRC’s study of cities in Washington as “reflective of the culture at GU.”

The student also encouraged other students to lend their financial support, according to the article. “One of the ways GU students can help to raise Spokane’s score for LGBT populations is with their wallet,” the Bulletin reported, “by choosing to spend their money at businesses that support LGBT equality… students are directly supporting their own interests for equality.”

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society

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