Doesn’t this university’s decision send a message that LGBT persons are more emotionally fragile?

“Allowing an Anscombe Society event could cause suicides, a student claims.”

An upcoming conference on heterosexual marriage is being denounced as hate speech by the Stanford Graduate Student Council (GSC), which is seeking to quash the event. Last week, the council at the top-ranked California university voted ten to two to deny funding for the event “Communicating Values: Marriage, Family, and Media,” sponsored by the Stanford Anscombe Society…. In the minutes (transcribed without editing), one student claims that “an event such as this would be a negative event, in schools that have negative events there is a statistically significant increase in suicide.”

(From Stanford Calls Traditional Marriage Conference ‘Hate Speech’, Denies Funding | National Review Online.)

I could raise a lot of questions about this, but for now I have just one: why is suicide a risk when people come to town talking about traditional marriage?

Call me naive, clueless, oblivious, or whatever, but I don’t get it. I’m open to being educated. Here’s why it puzzles me.

First, homosexuality is no longer professionally considered to be mentally or emotionally pathological, as it once was. Gays and lesbians are even celebrated in some cases as being more emotionally in tune than straights. Given that, they should exhibit emotional resilience at least on a par with straight people.

Second, while there’s considerable attention these days to the negative effects of bullying on gays and lesbians—and bullying in any form toward any person is wrong and harmful—this doesn’t appear to be a case of bullying, not even threatened bullying. It was to be an opposing viewpoint discussion instead.

Third, objective research and experience indicate that Christians and political conservatives face opposing viewpoints all the time on the college campus.

Fourth, there’s no evidence that Christians and political conservatives commit suicide more frequently in that environment than where their opinions are supported. (For those who suppose that living in a predominantly Christian culture explains Christians’ more positive responses, I urge you to look again at what it’s like on the college campus. There is a lot more anti-Christian bias there than you probably know.)

Add this all together, I can’t help wondering, doesn’t this send the message that LGBT persons are more emotionally fragile than straights?

It’s just a question. It flows out of the line of reasoning you see above, but I don’t want anyone to think I think I’ve got all the bases covered, all the right information in the mix, and so on. In other words it’s not a conclusion I’m reaching, it’s a question I’m raising. Doesn’t this send a message that gays and lesbians are more emotionally fragile? If not, what have I missed?

Or if I’m right, then why aren’t LGBT people protesting this negative message going out against them?

It sounds to me like they would rather tell the world they’re weak than listen to an individual tell them they might be wrong.

Do you see why this confuses me? I’d be glad if someone could help me understand it better.

Tom Gilson

Vice President for Strategic Services, Ratio Christi Lead Blogger at Thinking Christian Editor, True Reason BreakPoint Columnist

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16 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    I love the comment, “an event such as this would be a negative event.” According to who? I think that those having a positive view of heterosexual marriage would view it as a positive event. Who is this person to determine whether the event is negative or positive?

  2. JAD says:

    Apparently playing victim card isn’t enough for Stanford’s GSA. You also need to enforce their so called restriction against “hate speech.” But exactly what is hate speech? UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh argues that whatever hate speech may or may not be, according to the U.S. Constitution, there is no hate speech exception.

    The ACLU agrees:

    ”The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution.”

    I find myself agreeing with the ACLU here.

    Does Stanford University or the GSA really have a hate speech restriction? On what basis do they justify it? Those are a couple of questions I’d like to have answered.

  3. bigbird says:

    From the linked article:

    Other students defended the event, saying that Stanford should be tolerant of dissenting views and that the majority should refrain from “running a minority viewpoint out of town.”

    Since when did traditional marriage become a minority viewpoint??

  4. Tom Gilson says:

    It’s a minority view on campus.

  5. David Martin says:

    If they’re talking about a way of thinking where romance and personal fulfillment are not the primary aspects of marriage, that seems to have been a minority viewpoint for several decades. I see that creeping in to many churches that claim to hold a traditional understanding of marriage.

    Curiously, it has been my experience that younger people who hold a traditional view of marriage seem to see this more clearly than their parents generation. I’m still trying to understand if that is merely my perception or personal experience, or represents a real trend.

  6. GRA says:

    To answer the question in the headline: Yep.

  7. BillT says:

    It’s not a matter of any of this. It’s a matter of fascism. Fascists don’t want any viewpoint, other than theirs, expressed by anyone. Traditional marriage runs contrary to the zeitgeist of the modern university setting and thus needs to be suppressed. And suppress it they will.

  8. BillT says:

    And if there is anyone who doesn’t think that these “same people” wouldn’t like to suppress your ability to express your viewpoint on this or any other topic they disagree with, you should reconsider.

  9. JAD says:

    One thing to keep in mind when dealing with the thinking of the secular progressive left, which is overwhelmingly dominant within virtually all American public universities, the thinking is not really rational it is “rationalistic.” That is, there is the pretense of reason which is not really grounded in reason. I think that on at least a subconscious level they realize this. That is why, like at Stanford, they are so reluctant to engage in open dialogue and debate. They realize they might lose. Ironically their weapons of choice are to use vilification and demonization to marginalize people who do not agree with their group think. They justify this tactic with slogans like “we don’t tolerate intolerance.” But what is tolerance? Who defines it?

  10. SteveK says:

    That is, there is the pretense of reason which is not really grounded in reason.

    It’s reasoning based on a disjointed, anti-realistic view of the world where the fact/value divide results in 2 factual realities that are in constant conflict with each other.

    People will argue for the truth of BOTH Reality 1 (facts) and Reality 2 (subjective values) *knowing* that they have no ability *in principle* to make the two fit together – yet they insist that I somehow make them fit.

    I can’t square the circle and I can’t make an anti-realistic worldview appear as one coherent reality.

    My question to them is this: Do I accept Reality 2 that human individuals create value and plow ahead with my own value agenda, or do I accept Reality 1 where value is not a matter of fact and suggest that people get therapy to control the anxiety and stress they feel?

    Christianity doesn’t have the problem of “2 realities” and I don’t understand why people cannot see that. With God, values are facts of reality.

  11. G. Rodrigues says:


    That is why, like at Stanford, they are so reluctant to engage in open dialogue and debate. They realize they might lose. Ironically their weapons of choice are to use vilification and demonization to marginalize people who do not agree with their group think.

    I honestly do not think that “They realize they might lose”; rather what goes on their minds is more like “Their non-arguments are so stupid, that we should not even be wasting our time hearing them”. At any rate, and not being an American, I will say this in *their* defense: I have no problems with, for example, a University taking a public stand behind a given philosophical view, e.g. “here we are staunch liberals, and if you do not agree go teach your falsehoods somewhere else”. I find this a perfectly reasonable position. What it grates me is the blatant double standard of denying the same stance to their opponents *and* putting on airs of tolerance and reason.

  12. DR84 says:

    I think this speaks for itself regarding this issue:

    “The manifesto is not asking people to be conscientious objectors to same-sex marriage and accept the consequences for doing so. What George has done is to falsely manufacture a case for government workers to abandon their responsibilities. Gay tax dollars help to pay those civil servants and office holders. He is also calling for a prejudicial application of justice; something that is prohibited by the American Bar Association. Were it in effect, George’s religious objection would make gays second-class citizens. Robert George and many, if not most, of the signatories to this document believe that homosexuals are “objectively disordered.” They further believe that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” Those are the teachings of the Catholic Church and, by all accounts, Robert George is not a selective observer. He is a fundamentalist Catholic.

    Thus the unstated premise to all of this is that gay people are sick perverts. Why would you want to allow sick perverts to marry? Why would you allow sick perverts to raise children? That is the deranged bigoted thinking behind this. Gays getting hitched has no effect, whatsoever, on Robert P. George. Same goes for the rest of the signers. None of them have been affected by same-sex marriage. Gay people are repulsive to George”

    “George is a bigot. Isn’t it time for Robby to move on? He is using his academic position as a battering ram against the rights of gay citizens. Every time he writes one of his anti-gay screeds he notes his academic position. The time has come for Princeton University to stop ignoring the deplorable and bigoted acts of one of their employees. Princeton’s failure to do so makes the university complicit. This is most certainly not about academic freedom. Would Princeton accept, in their midst, a professor who claimed – on a national stage – that African-Americans were inferior? Could a Holocaust denier occupy an endowed chair at Princeton? I don’t think so.

    In the coming days I intend to have a dialog with some folks at Princeton University. This is probably going to result in a petition for the university to take action for a violation of its diversity policies. Then there is the problem of a professor of jurisprudence trying to effect (unconstitutionally) the nullification of a Supreme Court decision that he does not like. I am also going to have a little chat with the ABA but the primary goal must be for George to be relieved of the credibility bestowed upon him by his academic position. It’s a heavy lift. “

  13. Tom Gilson says:

    This is an objectively disordered interpretation of the Manhattan Declaration and of Robert George’s opinions. I wish I had time to spell out the reasons I say that.

  14. BillT says:

    the primary goal must be for George to be relieved of the credibility bestowed upon him by his academic position.

    Silence them all! (And the fascism continues.)

  15. JAD says:

    G. Rodrigues:

    I honestly do not think that “They realize they might lose”; rather what goes on their minds is more like “Their non-arguments are so stupid, that we should not even be wasting our time hearing them”.

    I recently made this comment on another thread:

    I think that most of the drive-bys and trolls who stop by this site are either (A) stupid or (B) they think that Christians like me (IOW all committed Christians) are stupid. I don’t see that there is any other option.

    Well let’s for the sake of argument give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it’s B. I still am not so stupid that I am going to be convinced by logically fallacious arguments—strawmen, non sequiturs, begging the question etc. If they are not stupid they should be able to give me some valid arguments which aren’t fallacious, shouldn’t they?

    Well, maybe there is a third option. Maybe they are really as smart as they pretend to be. If that’s the case, then they are just being plain lazy. However, from my perspective, being lazy is not any better than being stupid. I can’t tell the difference. I guess I’m stupid about things like that.

    Ironically members of the Stanford GSA, seem to be a lot like the internet drive-bys and trolls who show up here. So I agree with you, they probably think people who don’t share their enlightened group think are stupid and not worthy of their time and attention. But shouldn’t we expect better from graduate students attending one of the world’s leading universities? In other words, you seem to be suggesting a fourth option: they are being condescending and arrogant. I agree that’s a possibility. However, most arrogant people I have gotten to know are really very insecure if not paranoid people. Insecure people are typically afraid of losing. So I’ll stick with my original point; or, at least I’ll argue it’s true for some of them.

    On the other hand, if the Stanford GSA are being condescending and arrogant, they are being unethical and hypocritical, because they are demeaning and dehumanizing their fellow students. They say they are fighting discrimination but they then turn around and use discrimination against those who disagree with them. That’s not an enlightened, fair or democratic response.

  16. GRA says:

    “fundamentalist Catholic.”

    The fundie card. That’s cute.

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