Stanford Labels Traditional Marriage Conference "Hate Speech," Denies Funding

Sarah Jean Seman

3/17/2014 12:00:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman

Tolerance and free speech are apparently not welcome at Stanford University. The Graduate Student Council denied funding for a “Communicating Values” conference citing it as “hate speech,” Wednesday.

The Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS), a group which claims it is neither religiously nor politically affiliated but focuses on human principles, requested funding for the event. According to their website:

Our aim is to help university students and young adults to promote the values of marriage, family, and sexual integrity to the broader popular culture. Featuring speakers at the forefront of this effort, the conference will allow students to network with other individuals who are willing to engage in intellectual and civil discourse about the issues of marriage, family, and sexual integrity.

The student council, however, was not eager to promote this type of intellectual and civil discourse. SAS was denied $5,600 between the graduate and undergraduate student bodies, according to The Stanford Daily.

Bringing the speakers to Stanford would threaten the safety of campus for the queer population, according to Brianne Huntsman ’15, who started a Facebook event to organize a rally at the GSC meeting on Wednesday night.

“A lot of students who are queer come to Stanford because it’s one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world,” Huntsman said. “I grew up in Utah, where it was really conservative and a lot of us come from similar backgrounds, and we feel that we every time we go home. Stanford is supposed to be a safe space for us.”

By promoting the values of marriage and sexual integrity, SAS is implying that any other definition of marriage does not have integrity, GSC member Eduardo González-Maldonado reasoned in the meeting:

This event is not only discriminatory, but badly organized for the purpose for it’s serving. It’s supposedly serving to teach people on campus that people who hold anti-marriage-equality views can hold these views and be ok. If they are inviting these people to teach them that people who are anti-gay are not bigoted? It does not promote safe space on campus. Who would feel comfortable going to this event? Explicit funding guideline, we will not fund any event that makes anyone feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.

One guest speaker to attend the conference, Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, noted the illogical conclusion made by GSC:

The “Communicating Values” conference will take place regardless of the GSC's decision April 4-5 through the support of outside donations. In the end, this is America, and First Amendment rights apply to all citizens.