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Chicago’s Loyola University Bans Gay Wedding Ceremonies As Marriage Equality Begins in Illinois

As Illinois’ marriage equality law begins to take effect this year, Loyola University in Chicago has adopted an official policy that bans same-sex couples from marrying on campus grounds. DNAinfo Chicago reports:

LoyolaThe 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 [pictured right]. 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."

Windy City Times notes that Loyola's religious affiliation and mission affords the university exemptions granted under the equal-marriage law, which states that religious organizations are not required to provide their facilities for wedding ceremonies and receptions. 

However, the law's definition of "religious facilities" states that educational facilities are not exempt and with the school's standing as both a religious organization and an educational institution, there could be room for interpretation based on how the law is worded. A way around this would be for the school to argue that the wedding and reception venues offered by the university aren't necessarily used for educational purposes. 

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  1. "The policy, enacted in December, allows only Catholic-sanctioned weddings — between a man and a woman..." So, where do you go to be genetically tested to verify that your sex is either male or female? (God sometimes screws up and will create someone who is both.)

    I'm wondering how they will handle the marriage of m/f couple who where both previously married.

    Posted by: Ted | Feb 27, 2014 12:31:04 PM

  2. Everything with regard to religion is two steps backwards. Is this guy new?

    Posted by: Sean | Feb 27, 2014 12:33:55 PM

  3. This (not surprising) decision may disappoint some people, but until the Catholic church changes its position, it is entirely withing their rights to pass on marrying same sex couples. Choose a church that welcomes you.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | Feb 27, 2014 12:38:04 PM

  4. Fine, pull their tax-exempt status! Now!

    Posted by: John | Feb 27, 2014 12:44:47 PM

  5. So they've never allowed any but two Catholics to marry in their chapels?

    Posted by: Glenn I | Feb 27, 2014 12:49:00 PM

  6. Is it a chapel that only permits Catholic weddings?

    Do they allow protestant weddings, mormon weddings, civil weddings? Do they permit the chapel to be used for other than religious ceremonies? Do they rent it out to non-religious organizations for secular functions?

    If so, then the Catholic religious exemption is on shaky grounds.

    However, if only Catholics in good standing may use the facility for weddings, then Loyola is probably within its rights.

    Posted by: Continuum | Feb 27, 2014 12:51:15 PM

  7. I can understand them not permitting same-sex weddings in the churches and chapels on campus: those fall under the jurisdiction of the bishop.

    Banning such weddings on the school campus, even in areas like the Student Union? Nope. They can try declaring the school itself to be a religious institution, but then they will lose all sorts of government funding. And if they have ever allowed Buddhist, Jewish or some other form of non-Catholic wedding, then they themselves have set the precedent of allowing weddings that do not adhere to Catholic doctrine.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Feb 27, 2014 12:53:04 PM

  8. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

    The Catholic church knows better than Jesus!

    Posted by: Nick | Feb 27, 2014 12:53:51 PM

  9. well I say - who needs thier Voodoo Factorys anyways...? A Justice of the Peace, or LGBT Affirming religious institution will do just fine.....F them!

    Posted by: disgusted american | Feb 27, 2014 12:56:36 PM

  10. Who cares? It is within their rights to marginalize themselves and finally become irrelevant.

    Posted by: simon | Feb 27, 2014 1:00:27 PM

  11. good luck with pitches for money from gay alumni

    Posted by: woody | Feb 27, 2014 1:00:27 PM

  12. Who cares? It's a Catholic institution. How can this be surprising to anyone?

    Posted by: mattl | Feb 27, 2014 1:06:43 PM

  13. I do hope all straight, ally, alums also refuse to use their venues for their weddings and that gay caterers, wedding planners, florists and other vendors will take note of the restrictions. It has been a while since I was still Catholic, but it seems to me that if you only allow church-sanctioned weddings, that shouldn't include those that use the dirty gays for any part of the ceremony.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Feb 27, 2014 1:09:41 PM

  14. I have no problem with them doing this as long as they get no funding from the state or tax breaks, otherwise they in trouble.

    Posted by: Sean Maloney | Feb 27, 2014 1:11:18 PM

  15. "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

    The Catholic Church is really a wondrous invention if you want to take a society and distill out pedophiles and extraordinarily stupid gays.

    Posted by: JJ | Feb 27, 2014 1:14:50 PM

  16. Frankly, I don't care, and neither should anyone else.

    When a few students who want to get married at the alma mater start complaining and stop making donations, they may change their mind.

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Feb 27, 2014 1:17:55 PM

  17. Not a big deal. It's a catholic university, I would have been surprised if it DID perform same-sex marriages. This is not a fight I would like to see picked.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Feb 27, 2014 1:24:23 PM

  18. Fine with me - but they better be consistent. No divorced people marrying, no Jews, Muslims, Protestants getting married there either. No non-virgins, etc. If you are only going to exclude same sex partners and not every other couple who violates some tenet of the Catholic religion, then it is just discrimination.

    Posted by: Ready | Feb 27, 2014 1:28:59 PM

  19. i taught there for a year in the late 90's and attended a work holiday party full of jesuit priests - where i've never been cruised on so hard before in my life. the young priests there were so gay and obviously sexual. hypocrites.

    Posted by: pc | Feb 27, 2014 1:50:28 PM

  20. Thank you for this report and helping me make a more informed decision about where I will attend law school this fall. I have emailed Loyola Chicago and pulled my application.

    RE: Application Rescinded

    Dear Dean Yellen and Members of the Admissions Committee:

    My name is David Valk and I intended to apply to Loyola University Chicago School of Law for the Class of 2017.

    I learned this morning that Loyola Chicago discriminates against gay and lesbian couples and will not perform same-sex marriages on-campus.

    My goal is to attend a law school that will help me grow as a public servant and provide me an education grounded in the advancement of social justice. Your university's policies do not reflect these values.

    I have deleted my application from Law School Admission Council and will encourage my peers to do the same.


    David Valk

    Posted by: David Valk | Feb 27, 2014 1:50:56 PM

  21. Does this place receive any government funds?

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 27, 2014 1:57:10 PM

  22. As a Loyola graduate, I have to ask how is this even a surprise; they are a Catholic institution.

    And as a graduate of the class of 2006, I will agree that this is NOT the Loyola that I know...there were plenty of gays and a gay student group when I was there but I'm not about to get worked up over this.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Feb 27, 2014 2:24:53 PM

  23. they were already within their rights not to allow a gay wedding in their chapel, so the university only announced this policy to make a point.
    they didn't have to go out of their way to announce their hate, but they chose to.
    guesses as to why?

    Posted by: woody | Feb 27, 2014 2:40:09 PM

  24. Good job David Valk! Well written!

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Feb 27, 2014 2:41:42 PM

  25. Who gives a rat's ass? I wasn't planning on having my wedding in a church anyway, let alone a Catho-lick one.

    And no, that's not a typo.

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 27, 2014 3:39:35 PM

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