Texas university rebukes student paper for supporting gay marraige

TEXAS — The editorial board of BaylorUniversity’s student newspaper is facing criticism by the universitypresident and the Student Publication Board after printing an editorial supporting gay marriage.In the Feb. 27 edition of The Lariat, theeditorial board published a column that stated, ”it isn’t fair todiscriminate against someone for their sexual orientation.” The editorialboard voted 5-2 to write in support of San Francisco’s lawsuit against thestate of California regarding the right of a city to perform gaymarriages.The private Baptist university’s president, Robert B.Sloan Jr., released a statement condemning the newspaper, saying that students,alumni and parents are ”justifiably outraged over thiseditorial.””Espousing in a Baylor publication a view that isso out of touch with traditional Christian teachings is not onlyunwelcome,” Sloan said, ”it comes dangerously close to violatinguniversity policy, as published in the Student Handbook, prohibiting theadvocacy of any understandings of sexuality that are contradictory to biblicalteaching.”The editorial board released a statement standing by itsdecision to publish the column, because the issue of sexual orientation and gaymarriage is ”at the forefront of national public debate.””The editorial board’s opinions reflect the views of the majority ofits members, not necessarily those of the Baylor community, as stated in adisclaimer on the editorial page,” the editorial board said.RickyGeorge, a university staff member who supervises The Lariat staff, saidhe ”made an error in judgement” by allowing the newspaper staff topublish the editorial.”It is my responsibility to ensure thestudents have a strong editorial voice within the parameters of Baylor’smission,” George said.The Student Publications Board has alsodetermined that the editorial violated a university policy, which states”since Baylor University was established and is still supported by TexasBaptists to conduct a program of higher education in a Christian context, noeditorial stance of student publications should attack the basic tenets ofChristian theology or of Christian morality.””Clearly, theeditorial published on Feb. 27 is inconsistent with this policy,” thepublication board said. ”The guidelines have been reviewed with TheLariat staff, so that they will be able to avoid this error in thefuture.”The Lariat editorial board has said their columnfocused on the legal issue of same-sex messages, not their morality. The newspaper has received a number of letters to the editor both forand against the newspaper’s editorial.”Just because someoneholds a viewpoint that differs from your own doesn’t mean it is a personalattack on you or your views,” wrote Jesse Manley, a Baylor student.”It also doesn’t give license for censorship. They are entitled tohold an opinion and you are entitled to disagree with it.”TheAssociated Press reported that Larry Brumley, Student Publications Board member,said no students on the newspaper would be fired or face disciplinaryactions.Because Baylor University is a private school, it does not haveto grant its students full First Amendment rights.

Read the editorial here.