Catholic university Gonzaga opens LGBT center for 'advocacy'

The law school at Gonzaga University, a Jesuit Catholic institution, announced on Valentine's Day the opening of a new LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic.

Joe Lincoln, who graduated from Gonzaga in 1988 and is a current regent at the university, made a “significant donation” to the school that allowed for this center to be opened. Lincoln also made a donation in 2004 that helped to fund the “Lincoln LGBT Center.”

This  center was the first of its kind at any Jesuit university in the nation and in 2006 created the Safe Space Program which, “is a program focused on creating and sustaining environments that take into consideration the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of LGBTQ+ individuals, especially in the classroom.”

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Gonzaga said in the announcement that “the clinic aims to advance the equal rights and dignity of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ through education, programming, advocacy, research, and legal representation.”

The decision to open the center came with scrutiny from the leader of Spokane’s Catholic Diocese, who said that the center was “contrary to the Catholic faith and natural law," according to the Spokesman-Review

Jason Gillmer, professor and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, said in the school’s announcement, “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.” 

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Robert Bruskotter, a board member of the Gonzaga College Republicans, told Campus Reform, “I think the outreach creates a grey area with traditional Catholic teaching and we see that with local Catholic Church leaders in Spokane raising their concerns. Ultimately Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission involves engaging with many different types of people so it’s not surprising and I think valid that they cite that."

"There’s definitely a way to fulfill that mission and still display conservative values but I’m not sure the law school’s focus is in that direction.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Gonzaga University School of Law but they did not respond in time for publication.

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