Thursday, February 27, 2014

Loyola University Limits Campus Weddings in Wake of Same-Sex Marriage Law

Loyola University alumni and students said they're furious that the school changed its policy so that same-sex couples would be unable to marry on campus grounds under the state's new same-sex marriage law.

The policy, enacted in December, allows only Catholic-sanctioned weddings — between a man and a woman — at the school's iconic Madonna della Strada Chapel in Rogers Park. All other ceremonies would be forbidden campuswide, university officials said.

The move undermined the hope of students and alumni who wanted the university to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on campus grounds after the state Legislature passed the same-sex marriage law last year.

The state's first same-sex couples were officially married Friday.

"I was extremely disappointed because that policy is not reflective of the Loyola that I know," said Michael Jarecki, 35, who's gay and graduated from Loyola in 2001. "To me, this seems like two steps backwards."

Jarecki said the decision was a "slap in the face" to both him and the Jesuit principles he learned about while attending Loyola.

Jarecki, an attorney, said he has been an active participant at the school since graduating, but now he will withhold all donations to his alma mater unless the policy is changed.

"If Loyola doesn't see there are consequences to their actions, it won’t change," Jarecki said. "Why go through the work to promote Loyola when they are personally rejecting me as a gay man?"

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