Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Group Promotes Gay Rights With ‘Wedding’

At least one gay marriage won’t be nullified.

Michael Costa (COL ’09) and Nicolas Sementelli (SFS ’09) were “wed” in Red Square during a fake ceremony held to promote awareness for gay rights Friday.

The wedding ceremony was part of GU Pride’s “Advocacy Week,” a series of events intended to promote gay rights issues on campus. Throughout the week, the campus organization focused on highlighting problems the LGBTQ community faces, including on-campus homophobia and hate crimes.

Pride focused on promoting same-sex marriage on Friday.

According to Martha Swanson, Director of Student Organizations, the student turnout for the marriage was the largest of any of the events sponsored by Advocacy Week.

Sementelli, who sits on Pride’s executive board, said that the event was held to demonstrate opposition to American laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

“There are over 1,000 legal benefits available to married people that same-sex couples are not provided access to,” he said, mentioning tax benefits, medical rights and inheritance laws as examples.

It is “important to show public support for same-sex couples denied marriage rights and all those who are unfairly discriminated against,” he said.

Other events during the week included a discussion Monday focusing on the transgender experience, a film Tuesday focusing on violence in the LGBTQ community, a discussion Wednesday addressing racial tension in the LGBTQ community and a dinner and discussion Thursday night on homophobia in the classroom.

The events have raised dialogue about the compatibility of the gay community and gay rights within a Catholic university. The Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage and ordaining gay men.

Bill McCoy, assistant director of student organizations and LGTBQ community resources, said that despite the Vatican’s stance against gay marriage, gay rights have a place at Jesuit and Catholic Universities.

McCoy pointed to a 1997 statement by The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, an assembly of American Catholic bishops, declaring that LGBTQ members do not choose that lifestyle and cannot be considered sinners. The statement said that members of the LGBTQ should be treated with dignity and respect.

“With these ideals in mind, I do not think that it is a great leap to say that this discussion and movement is compatible with Georgetown’s identity,” McCoy said. The LGBTQ community is “asking to be treated with the dignity and respect that others receive without asking.”

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