Baptist university paper scolded for editorial supporting same-sex marriage
March 03 2004 1:00 AM ET
Baylor University's president says he is "justifiably outraged" over a student newspaper editorial defending gay marriage. Robert B. Sloan Jr.'s strongly worded statement ran Tuesday in the Baylor
Lariat, the newspaper of the world's largest Baptist university, which is located in Waco, Tex. "We have already heard from a number of students, alumni, and parents who are, as am I, justifiably outraged over this editorial," Sloan wrote. "Espousing in a Baylor publication a view that is so out of touch with traditional Christian teachings is not only unwelcome, it comes dangerously close to violating university policy, as published in the student handbook, prohibiting the advocacy of any understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching."
The paper also published a statement Tuesday from the student publications board, a group of faculty and administrators overseeing the newspaper, calling the Friday editorial a violation of student publications policy, said board member Larry Brumley. The policy states that no editorial stance of student publications should "attack the basic tenets of Christian theology or of Christian morality." Brumley said on Tuesday that no staffers overseeing the newspaper would be fired or face disciplinary actions and that no students would be punished.
Lariat editor Lacy Elwood has said the editorial took a legal rather than a moral stance on the issue and that the board's views do not necessarily reflect those of the Baylor community. Last week the editorial staff voted 5-2 in support of San Francisco's lawsuit against California seeking to continue performing same-sex marriages. "Taking into account equal protection under the law, gay couples should be granted the same equal rights to legal marriage as heterosexual couples," the editorial stated. The piece also denounced discrimination against gays, likening it to racial or religious intolerance. Richard George, the staff member who is the Lariat news director, said Monday that he made a judgment error and that the editorial should not have been published. "It is my responsibility to ensure the students have a strong editorial voice within the parameters of Baylor's mission," George said in a statement.