New York State Assemblyman Sends Letter to The Catholic University of America President

May 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC. – In 1978, Daniel O’Donnell met the man that would later become his husband at The Catholic University of America. Both O’Donnell and John Banta were freshmen at CUA. Today, a New York State Assemblyman, O’Donnell sent a letter to CUA President John Garvey expressing his support for the unofficial gay-straight alliance CUAllies.

The Catholic University of America officially recognized the Organization for Gay and Lesbian Student Rights from 1988 until its disbandment in 2002. In 2009, the unofficial gay-straight alliance CUAllies was formed. This new organization aims at fostering a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment on campus for all students. Promoting the same message found in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document Always Our Children, which said that humor and discrimination against homosexuals must be curbed.

On February 21, 2012, a proposal was submitted to the Office of Campus Activities for the official recognition of CUAllies. The proposal is still being considered by University administrators. O’Donnell sends his letter just days after the University’s commencement ceremony––the same day that administrators “expected” to have a decision regarding the proposal.

O’Donnell’s letter to President Garvey reads, “I write to extend my full support for the student- led efforts in promoting official recognition of the Gay-Straight Alliance at The Catholic University of America.”

CUAllies’ efforts have included an “It Needs to Get Better” video which has over 1,200 views on YouTube, a coalition with the University of Notre Dame, a prayer vigil with over 40 student in attendance, a pledge of support with over 100 signatures, an event with lesbian Barbara Johnson who was denied communion at her mother’s funeral, and the successful election of the Student Association’s first openly gay speaker Ryan Fecteau (equivalent to student body president).

O’Donnell’s letter concludes, “I applaud the resolve and initiative demonstrated by [CUAllies]. It is through such efforts that students of all different background will recognize that they have a place at your university and in their broader communities.”



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