Mark Kennedy, a former Republican congressman and the lone finalist to be the University of Colorado’s next president, said his vote against same-sex marriage was because of “societal consensus” at the time.
In 2004, Kennedy voted to approve a bill that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide, declaring that “that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”
Two years later Kennedy voted to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment, which said that “neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
Said Kennedy in an open letter to the University of Colorado community: “Some of you have voiced concern about my voting record when I served in Congress more than a decade ago. While in Congress, I cast perhaps 4,000 votes, many on difficult topics. I am happy to address votes as to how they would impact my actions and decisions as president. On some, the societal consensus has changed over the past decade-plus, as has my own thinking. Like many friends and colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress, my position on marriage has evolved. Would I vote the same way today? No. My record in supporting the LGBTQ+ community reflects a deep respect for the dignity of each individual. Students, faculty, staff and members of our community will have my full support and respect no matter who they love or how they identify. I am committed to be a leader for all.”
Added Kennedy: “At the University of North Dakota, I issued an anti-discrimination and harassment policy covering sexual orientation and gender identity as strong as similar policies at CU. At UND, we have attracted talented LGBTQ+ individuals to leadership roles and expanded programming in support of our LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff. I will ensure that senior university leaders share my commitment to nondiscrimination and the benefits of diversity.”
Meanwhile, students are protesting the selection of Kennedy:
And the chair and vice chair of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents defended their choice: “Mark Kennedy spoke with us at length about his current support for same-gender marriages, how he worked productively with the LGBTQ community at UND and hired its first LGBTQ coordinator, and that he supports diversity, both on the campus and in whom he hires. We all thought Mark was the best pick. Reports that the nine-month search process was rushed are inaccurate.”