Catholic Layola University Opens Up to … Gay Marriage?


John Litchfield, is 26, gay, and attending the Chicago School of Law at Loyola University. Yes, the Catholic school. Perhaps not as perplexing as a gay guy enrolling at Brigham Young, but still, the question begs: What homo wants to attend a university (let alone pay them tuition) that is founded on a religion that hates their kind? To be sure, plenty of America’s schools are religious-based, including Boston College and St. John’s. They’re good schools. But their underlining principles align a little too closely with crap like this. But Mr. Litchfield wants his law degree, from a respectable school, and so good for him. Actually, great for him: Litchfield took it upon himself to start the school’s first gay group. It’s called OUTlaw. Clever! More clever is OUTlaw’s latest event: a symposium on gay marriage. What’s this? A Catholic school hosting a forum to debate the possible legitimacy of supposed sins?

Writes Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune:

If Loyola were a public school, I might have deleted Litchfield’s e-mail about the symposium. Life is heavy with press releases. But the fact that one of Chicago’s Catholic institutions was opening its grand “ceremonial courtroom” to same-sex marriage advocates seemed worth some consideration.

“I think this reflects young Catholics in Chicago,” said Litchfield, a slender guy with short auburn hair, neatly dressed in slacks, a white shirt and a navy pullover sweater. When I arrived, he’d been reading a news article—new rules for hedge funds—on his iPod.

“People in this age group, 22 to 30,” he went on, “are mature, able to think things through.”

He doesn’t mean that all young Catholics think gays should be allowed to marry. But except for a single instance in his first year—someone ripped the group’s posters off a wall in a locker room—he’s felt entirely supported at this school where crucifixes hang in the classrooms.

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  • ChicagoJimmy

    I got my Masters at DePaul, another Catholic school here in Chicago. My department chair was a priest and we had a nun as one of the faculty. They were quite liberal and took very seriously the separation of church teachings and the necessity of an open learning environment. My degree is Public Service Management, and while we discussed St. Vincent DePaul’s commitment to public service, it was never in the context of Catholic teachings. The Catholics have been about this education thing for a long time and I think the educators know to keep god in the chapel and out of the classroom. The law school at Loyola can’t be compared to the the law school at some of our newer evangelical inspired institutions that were founded to bring god into the courthouse.

  • Chitown Kev

    That’s LOYOLA, nitwits. And I am an alumni of Loyola Chicago, so that’s for giving my alma mater pub, Queerty.

    The students and staff are also very liberal, it has moreso to do with the administration. Loyola is also located in an extremely gay friendly neighborhood called Rogers Park (which is affectionally called “The People’s Republic of Rogers Park” where I resided for most of the 20 years that I have lived here (though not now).

    Now about the law school, I don’t know much about, but the undergrad curriculum is sweet but you won’t have any gay-titled courses. I took a course there in cultural theory and it wound up being a damn good queer theory course on pop culture. All of my professor loved my frequent gay takes in my classics, anthropolgy, and English classes. Nice to see Queerty giving my alma mater some love!

  • Ryan

    Jimmy, there are a lot of Catholic colleges that provide a liberal education – in the old sense of the word, as well as the new – but there are some, usually smaller Catholic schools all across the country that aren’t anywhere near as open at these social things, at least at an administrative level (professors in the class… probably a different story, varying case by case). For example, it was seen as a very large surprise when Gordon College in Massachusetts, a small catholic school, allowed Soul Force on campus. Other catholic schools across the country didn’t and at least as of a few years ago they don’t allow any type of Pride club on campus.

  • Alec

    The Catholic Church, for all of its many faults, is nothing like the LDS when it comes to control of its educational institutions. If he had attended, say, Ave Maria, that would be one thing.

    Interestingly, there was a guy I knew who was going to law school at Notre Dame and who was gay and was volunteering with the ACLU in the summer after his first year. To be eligible for work study he had to agree not to work on abortion or gay rights cases. Now that is something of a slap in the face. But I don’t think this is something gay students at Georgetown, Boston College or other Catholic establishments have reported.

  • Mark

    It’s got to be noted that Loyola is a Jesuit school, so compared to a place like Notre Dame, this is something that I’m not at all surprised at. Georgetown grad here and Georgetown’s PRIDE group has been in the existence since the 70s (although they had to have a lawsuit to get it established).

  • bb

    Actually BC did this too. I’m pretty sure their symposium was pretty closed-minded, but they did do it. Also, I think a lot of schools call their queer-students groups OutLaws. I think it is super cute though.

  • PuddyKatz

    Whoever wrote this is really stupid and ill-informed. Most Catholic colleges, especially Jesuit ones, practice academic freedom and are more open minded that one might imagine. This is a simply fact that any intelligent well-read person would know.
    Dear author of Queerty blog pieces, do a little research, or better yet, read a little more broadly and stop parroting simple one dimensional ideas that you no doubt pick up from other parts of the Internet.

  • Chitown Kev

    Yes, I think BC is Jesuit also, you do have to be careful with the affiliations of your Catholic schools. The Jesuits have always been known for their liberalism, urban education, community service, and some of the best financial aid packages that you can find.

    And it’s right on the lake!

  • Jordan

    I’m not sure if you meant “the school’s first gay group” as in “the law school’s first gay group,” but the undergrad school has had a gay group for years and years. I was an officer in it in 1999, and back then it was called “GLABA.” If I remember correctly, there was also a faculty member dedicated to GLBT diversity issues, as well.

  • Sid

    I’m a gay MA student at Loyola (thank you to posts pointing out the correct spelling). I also did my undergrad at another Jesuit University, and have always felt welcomed and included in the respective campus communities. Also, both Jesuit universities I have attended had several LGBT organizations operating as well.

    While I understand concerns about the views of religious institutions, going as far to say “What homo wants to attend a university (let alone pay them tuition) that is founded on a religion that hates their kind?” implies that all Catholic schools are intolerant, that all faculty/staff are intolerant (which cannot be further from the case), and that all LGBT persons attending must be mentally deficient. Thanks for questioning my intellect.

  • Jason Lucas

    As a gay man myself, I’m pretty appalled at the sorry language in which this article was written.

    To write off the whole of the Catholic religion as gay-hating is missing the point as much as the portions of ill-informed Catholic people who twist the religion into a tool of hate.

    Do your homework, please.

  • Erica

    I’d like to reiterate the sloppiness of this kind of logic.

    1 Christian does not equal bigot.
    2 Loyola is actually very progressive in terms of its LGBTQ programs and support
    3 Schmick’s article was also sloppily put together, and she was wrong to imply that it’s so shocking a Catholic university would have an event discussing gay marriage.
    4 Both Schmick and the author of this article is unaware of the history of LGBT student organizations on Loyola’s campus.

    If you click on my name (though I’m not affiliated with the group), you’ll be linked to a page on Loyola’s website that discusses the history of Loyola’s LGBT organizations.

Comments are closed.