Post Classifieds

Tensions mount afer anti-gay group allowed on campus

By Melissa Hall and Maria Ramirez
On March 9, 2013

  • Students, including members of GSU's Gay Straight Alliance, protest against the H.O.M.E. Group's presence on campus.

Tensions recently escalated on the campus of Governors State University when the H.O.M.E. Group, an anti-homosexuality group, was allowed to disseminate their anti-gay message to GSU students.

H.O.M.E., an acronym for "Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment" was allowed to set up a table on the GSU campus February 21 and 22 and distribute flyers to students entitled, "The Uncensored Truth About Homosexuals."

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization, classifies H.O.M.E. as an anti-gay hate group. According to its website, the SPLC is "dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society."

The presence of H.O.M.E. on campus sparked confusion and outrage among students, particularly among members of GSU's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Julie Bryar, an education major and member of the GSA, expressed her anger at H.O.M.E.'s presence on campus and questioned why they were allowed to be on the GSU campus.

"They were allowed to hand out whatever they wanted," said Bryar. "However, any other club on campus is required to have their flyer screened and approved by Student Life. They had information based on logical science, which was not logical at all for an academic setting. If this is a free speech zone, then why do I have to go through a million hoops to put something on my table that I booked as well, and I paid to go here? Yet, someone who does not attend this university or has any attachment to it can hand out whatever they want. I was really offended by that."

Many students felt that the H.O.M.E. Group's presence on campus created a tense, uncomfortable environment. Several students engaged in heated arguments with members of H.O.M.E. One student, a biology major who asked to remain anonymous, questioned the validity of the information that H.O.M.E. presented as facts about homosexuality.

The student argued with H.O.M.E., "Although you are showing me statistical evidence to support your argument, you still have not showed me biological proof to support your reasoning for why homosexual acts of sodomy causes HIV and or AIDS, although neither partner has any sexual transmitted diseases to begin with."

Some students felt as though their safety was being threatened by the presence of H.O.M.E. Dana Duncan, an education major and GSA member, said of H.O.M.E.'s presence, "People were scared; they brought a type of fear. We were debating whether to go to our cars together as a group or to walk to our cars with security. H.O.M.E was offered security. We were not offered security. If students here strongly disagree with what we do with our life choices, anything could have happened; anything can happen when there is conflicting reasoning. Why are we not entitled to the same protection as H.O.M.E? We deserve the same respect."

Although H.O.M.E.'s presence on campus caused feelings of apprehension and discomfort among many students, many were united in their opposition of H.O.M.E.'s anti-homosexuality message. According to a member of the GSA who asked to be identified only as William, several campus club leaders were united in their opposition of the presence of H.O.M.E. on campus, and offered moral support to the GSA.

William contacted several other campus clubs, such as ALAS (Association of Latin American Students), the Accounting/Finance club, and the Social Work Student Organization, and arranged a counter-protest to the H.O.M.E. Group's anti-gay message.

Part of the GSA's counter-protest was arranging a "kiss-in", in which members of the same sex would kiss each other in front of the H.O.M.E. Group's table.

"I wanted to take the opportunity to take a crappy situation and turn it into a positive," said William..

In an email responding to the Phoenix's request for information on the H.O.M.E. Group, H.O.M.E. founder Wayne Lela said that his group's mission was "to inform people as to why homosexual activity is immoral, relatively unhealthy, somewhat financially costly, disordered, and a bad legal precedent."

Lela also insinuated that the GSA was responsible for creating an unsafe campus environment. Although not naming the GSA specifically, Lela wrote in his email, "It seems like the one group allowed to exhibit hateful behavior is the gay group. Members love to call names like homophobe, bigot, and worse."

When asked by the Phoenix how many members the H.O.M.E. Group has, Lela wrote, "Do you discriminate against groups based on their size? Shouldn't ideas be judged on their own merit, not on how many people happen to be saying those ideas? Truth isn't always popular."

Lela also refuted the SPLC's classification of H.O.M.E. as a hate group, saying, "The SPLC is a liberal, prejudiced, hate group. It's a bad joke. They have little credibility with thinking people."

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Recent The Phoenix News Articles

Discuss This Article




Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format