Graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame, including some sporting rainbow flags draped around them or on their caps, walked out of their own commencement to protest the discriminatory views guest speaker Mike Pence has espoused, according to ABC News.
The group We Stand For organized the action, asking people via Facebook to take a stand against the former Indiana governor on behalf of “marginalized people affected by Pence’s politics. The post read:
"We invite all students, faculty, and families who will be attending the Commencement ceremony to walk out with us as we take back our graduation and show our dissatisfaction with the University's selection of Mike Pence as honored speaker. We also will walk out in dignity and solidarity with all marginalized people affected by Pence's politics, both on this campus and throughout our nation."
Pence has a long history of backing legislation that is harmful to and discriminatory of LGBT people. His support of the abusive practice of "conversion therapy" for LGBT youth is so insidious that he once proposed channeling funds from HIV-focused Ryan White CARE Act to pay for what amounts to sanctioned child abuse. He also supported a religious freedom bill that allowed for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
The man who refuses to dine alone with any woman who’s not his wife also boasts an abysmal record when it comes to women. A long-time opponent of women in the workplace, Pence has worked to defund planned parenthood and even once tried to redefine rape in a bill to limit access to abortion.
As dozens of students walked out of his commencement speech to some boos from other audience members, Pence continued with his speech, which included a few lines about the freedom of speech, according to ABC.
“While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe zones, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness — all of which amounts to nothing less than suppression of the freedom of speech,” Pence said, calling any suppression of freedom of speech "destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge."
Watch video of the protest below.