Trump to give commencement address at Christian university that bans gay students
US President Donald Trump has been announced as the commencement speaker at a university that bans gay sex.
Liberty University, which claims to be the largest private Christian university in the world, has come under scrutiny for its controversial discriminatory policies on gay sex.
The university banned all LGBT groups in 2006 on the grounds of ‘morality’, and in 2014 secured an exemption from federal anti-discrimination laws to allow it to discriminate against LGBT people.
All students are required to sign a statement promising not to have gay sex, or sex with a transgender person – even if they’re married.
It states: “Sexual relations outside of a Biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and natural-born woman are not permissible at Liberty University.”
Trump has repeatedly been tied with the university in the past, giving a speech there during his election campaign which no reference to its discriminatory policies. He also offered a cabinet post to Liberty President Jerry Falwell after receiving his endorsement.
The President was today announced as the university’s commencement speaker.
The Christian Broadcasting Network, given the exclusive news by the White House, failed to scrutinise the university’s anti-LGBT stances.
Trump said: “I look forward to speaking to this amazing group of students on such a momentous occasion.
“Our children truly are the future and I look forward to celebrating the success of this graduating class as well as sharing lessons as they embark on their next chapter full of hope, faith, optimism, and a passion for life.”
Falwell said: “His supporters, including over 80% of the evangelical community, are thrilled with President Trump’s actions so far.
“The fact that the mainstream media and the Establishment (on the left and the right) remain in attack mode with their often baseless and dishonest claims against Trump is a sign that President Trump is doing a wonderful job.”
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Recently a veteran’s partner was denied a Liberty University tuition discount for military spouses – because of their lesbian relationship.
The university insisted: “Any scholarship that is made available to spouses… will only be available to ‘spouses’ as defined by Liberty University as a husband or wife of a service member who together are in state-sanctioned marriage and are natural-born members of the opposite sex.”
Since taking office less than two months ago, President Trump and his team have acted to dismantle civil rights protections for transgender kids in education that had been extended under the Obama government. Under Trump, the Department of Justice has also quietly shelved an Obama-era legal challenge against North Carolina’s state-level anti-LGBT law.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that it will not go ahead with a planned hearing on transgender rights, in light of the Trump administration’s removal of key protections.
The highest court in the US had been set to hear the case of Virginian trans teen Gavin Grimm, whose school ordered him to use a toilet that correspond with his “biological gender”.
Grimm is suing the Gloucester County School Board with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing that the policy violated his right to freedom from discrimination.
However, the case was thrown into disarray after the Trump administration acted to withdraw the transgender protections the case partly relied on.