Boston College Law School professor experiences intolerance at Jesuit-affiliated school as vocal Bible-believing Catholic
-- From "Professor opposes same-sex marriage in ad" by Ana Lopez, The Boston College Heights 9/24/09
The appearance of Scott Fitzgibbons, a professor in the Boston College Law School, in an ad campaign in support of the Maine Marriage Initiative, which seeks to overturn Governor John Baldacci's signature of the same-sex marriage bill, has sparked controversy in the BC Law School. Fitzgibbons did not obtain clearance from the BC Law School before appearing in the advertisement, in which he stated his opposition to gay marriage and identified himself as a BC professor.
In the advertisement, Fitzgibbons said that he is concerned by the detrimental legal consequences that would arise from allowing the legalization of gay marriage. "Unless question one [which overturns the movement to legalize gay marriage] passes, there could be real consequences for Mainers," he said in the advertisement. "Legal experts predict a flood of lawsuits against individuals, small business, and religious groups. Church organizations could lose their tax exemption [and] homosexual marriage would be taught in public schools, whether their parents like it or not."
In the wake of the advertisement's release, it became apparent that Fitzgibbon's public stance on gay marriage was a sensitive reality for many members of the Law School community.
In a letter released last week, Law School Dean John Garvey spoke to the emotions expressed by several members of this community. "Professor Fitzgibbon, as a member of our faculty, is free to express his views … we also have faculty members who hold a contrary view, which they too are free to express publicly," Garvey said. "As I think any of our faculty might have done, he stated his views without prior notice to or clearance from the Law School."
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Immediately after Dean Garvey issued the above letter, he signed the following statement, along with 76 other "Individual Faculty and Administrators at Boston College Law School:"
"The undersigned members of the faculty and administration at Boston College Law School feel that it is important to reaffirm our belief in the equality of all of our students. We are proud of the fact that Boston College Law School was one of the first law schools in the country to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination pledge, and we reaffirm our commitment to making our institution a welcome and safe place for all students, including LGBT [a.k.a. homosexual/sexually-deviant/sexually-confused] students."