Notre Dame Denies Pro-Marriage Club Official Status

By:  Warren Mass
Notre Dame Denies Pro-Marriage Club Official Status

The University of Notre Dame has denied official recognition to a student club that supports traditional marriage.

On April 30, the university’s Club Coordination Council (CCC) voted not to approve the application of Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP) for official club status.

SCOP’s Facebook page identifies it as “a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Notre Dame who are focused on the debate about marriage taking place in Indiana.”

The Indianapolis Star reported on the ongoing marriage debate in a May 21 article, “State GOP platform reopens gay marriage debate,” noting:

Indiana Republicans will vote in June on a proposed platform that reasserts the party's support of traditional marriage, a move that likely will lead to another GOP showdown over gay rights.

This renewed debate comes after the state legislature — with Republicans having large majorities in the House and Senate — effectively delayed until 2016 a public referendum on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. The legislature also removed a clause that would have banned civil unions.

Margaret Hnatusko, director of Notre Dame’s student activities office, gave the following reasons for turning down SCOP’s application in her April 30 letter:

We consider the general purpose of a club, uniqueness to campus, proposed activities, a clear constitution, a strong understanding of budget planning, projected membership, opportunity for membership among other things.

The ... mission of your club closely mirrored that of other undergraduate-student clubs on campus which served the intended interests of this club. As such, the Club Coordination Council felt there was not a need for another similar type club. 

When we visited Notre Dame’s Student Activities webpage and searched under the listing of student groups, we found no other student group whose mission even remotely resembled SCOP’s — not to mention any that “closely mirrored” the proposed student club. (Though, curiously, for a university described in a Fox News article about this event as “the iconic Catholic institution,” Notre Dame does have an officially sanctioned Muslim Student Association.)

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown also repeated Hnatusko’s assertion of redundancy in a statement to on May 20: 

SCOP is one of six proposed clubs whose applications were denied this spring, and 31 percent of club applications have been denied over the past five years, most for the same reason — duplication of purpose. [Emphasis added.]

As noted, a review of Notre Dame’s online list of student groups does not reveal another organization whose mission even remotely resembles SCOP’s, rendering both Hnatusko’s and Brown’s explanations specious. 

The CCC’s decision brought a response from Notre Dame student Tiernan Kane, the prospective president of SCOP:

Click here to read the entire article.

Photo of Washington Hall at the University of Notre Dame

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