GOOD

Should Michigan Law Students Have to Listen to an Anti-Gay Commencement Speaker?

Senator Rob Portman is set to speak at his old law school. But many current students don't want him there.

Rob Portman is a successful man. Currently the junior senator from Ohio, Portman, a Republican, is also a former U.S. congressman and once served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. In many ways, it makes total sense that the University of Michigan law school asked Portman to speak at this year's graduation, a ceremony he attended as an exiting student in 1984. But then there's his record on gay rights.


As a congressman from Ohio's second district, Portman voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and he also supported the Defense of Marriage Act. In the words of Portman's spokesman, Jeff Sadosky, the senator "believes marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman." That's not the whole story, however. Because in 1999, Portman also voted in favor of barring gay people from adopting children, an amendment that eventually failed. Which means that not only does Portman believe marriage should exist only for heterosexuals, he also believes gay people are unfit to be parents.

It's little wonder, then, that a group of Michigan law students is up in arms over the school's decision to ask Portman to speak. After three years in the trenches of academia, would you like to listen to a noted homophobe talk about how best to live your life, especially if your life is that of an LGBT man or woman?

"Michigan Law prides itself on its commitment to diversity and tolerance," wrote 98 graduating Michigan students in a letter to the dean, Evan Caminker. "While we do not wish to silence debate nor to categorically deny individuals with anti-gay politics any opportunity to speak at the law school, we believe that the decision to host a speaker who is openly hostile to LGBT rights is deeply unfair to the LGBT students who will be in the audience this year celebrating their graduation."

A group of Michigan law alumni has also come together to question Caminker's decision via an open letter, writing, "We do not believe that people who oppose gay rights should never have the opportunity to speak at Michigan Law. Rather, we are concerned about the message Michigan Law is sending by giving an anti-gay rights speaker the honor of marking what should be a joyful occasion for every member of the graduating class."

Despite the protestations, a Michigan spokesperson said Portman is still scheduled to give the address. It should be interesting to see the senator glad-handing LGBT law students with one hand while voting against their interests under the law with the other.

Articles

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture