Notre Dame, Same-Sex Marriage and Gender Theory

.@NotreDame accelerates its pro-LGBTQ pace, increasing enrollment of LGBTQ students, embracing gender ideology on campus, and promoting Pride Month through the Alumni Association #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

In this bulletin, we relate how the University and its Alumni Association (NDAA) continue to undermine Church teaching on sex, marriage, and gender, this time through celebration of Pride Month, the promotion of the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame (ARCND), the University’s recognition of gender theory, and its quest for more LGBTQ students.

Here’s what’s happened:

Pride Month

Pride Month is dedicated to the full LGBT agenda, particularly same-sex marriage. As Human Rights Watch declared:

Marriage equality remains an issue at the forefront of Pride.

Indeed, at Notre Dame Professor Joel Mittleman (Sociology, Gender Studies) called attention to Pride Month because he saw a threat to same-sex marriage: 

When even foundational rights like marriage equality appear newly uncertain, this year’s Pride is a time not only to celebrate, but to organize.

That was why we criticized the university’s celebration of Pride Month last year. So we were pleased to see the university let this year’s June Pride Month pass in silence.

Until we discovered the NDAA had taken over. 

The NDAA opened June with a Facebook invitation “to join ARCND to celebrate” Pride Month, and our limited search showed that alumni clubs in Boston, El Paso, Quad Cities, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and New York did just that, with the New York Club’s Facebook site featuring a rainbow-colored Empire State Building superimposed over a silhouette of the Golden Dome.

The Boston club in particular went all out with invitations to alumni to eyebrow-raising events sponsored by others — “Love Conquers All Drag Show” and “Drag Bingo” – and its own “Pride Night at Fenway Park.”

Alienation of Alumni

At the same time, since ARCND was bound to divide, we weren’t surprised to find that many clubs, perhaps most for all we know, ignored the NDAA. 

One club president wrote us:

I was particularly upset when I received my LGBTQ+ Tool Kit from Notre Dame, which encouraged me to celebrate Pride Month and spread the LGBTQ+ queer message throughout my Club community.

I tolerate and love ALL of God’s children, regardless of their personal choices, but I will not use my position as [a club president] to celebrate, promote, and encourage deviant behavior. If that becomes a requirement of Club Presidents, I will submit my resignation the same day.”

At least one club has already suffered major disruption. We have confirmed that, due to resignations over ARCND, the Oklahoma City club is left with no officers and only three board members. Its Facebook site does not record any activity after an April, 2001 announcement of the formation of ARCND. 

NDAA, ARCND, and Same-Sex “Marriage” 

We have previously recounted:

  • How NDAA collaborated with the unofficial Gay & Lesbian Alumni Club of Notre Dame (GALA) to establish ARCND;
  • How GALA has repeatedly evidenced its hostility to Church teaching on sex, marriage, and gender;
  • How NDAA appointed appointed the same-sex married president of GALA as the chair of ARC ND; and 
  • How half of the ARCND leadership team is in same-sex marriages.

We have now examined the entire membership of ARCND and find what one would expect, namely, that its marriage model is same-sex marriage. While most of the 503 alumni members don’t disclose marital status,109 (22%) report same-sex marriages. 

More, a recent NDAA video continues its practice of publicizing same-sex married alumni under a “We Are Notre Dame” banner — but this time with an interesting twist. 

The new video opens with an image showing a rainbow superimposed on the Dome and Basilica; it continues with ARCND endorsements by three persons with the familiar refrain, “We are Notre Dame”; and it closes with the exhortation “Pride Month is Over But Our Work is Just Beginning.”

But this time NDAA didn’t identify their spokespersons, so we investigated and identified two of them as Paul Burke, the chair of ARCND, and Jennifer Grubb, a board member. 

Both are in same sex marriages.

NDAA did not question our finding, nor did it respond to our request to identify the third spokesperson.

Affirmative Action LGBT Admissions

In an illuminating Irish Rover article about the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program, Joe DeReuil, the new Rover editor-in-chief, reported what admissions officer Don Bishop had to say about how the program impacts admissions.

Bishop explained that initially “diversity was only meant to be race and ethnicity, then it was broadened to include “socio-economic,” and now “it’s included additional cultural orientation, which may include but not be limited to LGBTQ.

[T]hose are probably the biggest right now: race, ethnicity, socio-economic, LGBTQ, and Gender.

That is to say, the drive now is to attract to Notre Dame more students from a cohort the vast majority of whom are hostile to Church teaching. 

And it seems to be working. Bill Dempsey wrote information officer Dennis Brown that we had been told “more LGBT students were admitted [last year] than at any time in the past” and asked him to tell us if that was incorrect. “If I have it right,” Bill concluded, “of course you need not reply.”

He did not. 

Finally, in a related action Notre Dame assumed management of GALA’s scholarship program for “qualifying LGBTQ+ students.”

LGBT Recruitment Case Study

This “affirmative action” LGBT program presumably accounts for the appointment as “Recruitment Representative” of graduate students like Lau Ortiz-Mercado (whose preferred pronoun is “they”).

Describing Ortiz-Mercado as “a passionate activist and social rights advocate,” the English Department reported:

[T]hey participate in several organizations that seek to bring visibility to the challenges faced by members from marginalized and underrepresented sectors, including latinx and BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] students, and members of the LGBTTQIA+ community.

(Note: The second “t” could mean “two-spirit” or takatāpui, a term that can “also refer to an individual who is SOGIE diverse.”)

“Passionate” is perhaps too conservative an adjective for “their” rancorous tweet,

If you celebrate #pride but don’t support the current riots for @BlackLivesMatter let me tell you you’re a hypocrite.”

We have learned from a Culver Academies parent that, having completed graduate work at Notre Dame, Dr. Ortiz-Mercado has just become an Academic and College Advisor at Culver Academies at this prominent Indiana secondary school. In introducing “them” to the Culver community, the school told of “their” LCBTTQIA, BIPOC and Latinx activism and underscored “their” Notre Dame credentials.

Dr. Lau Ortiz-Mercado is joining Culver Academies…after having spent the last five years as a Graduate School Representative and Recruiter for the University of Notre Dame.

Having represented Notre Dame to prospective students as a Recruitment Representative, Dr. Ortiz-Mercado is now the face of Notre Dame to students and parents at Culver.

Gender Switch at Notre Dame

The Church teaches that a person’s sex and gender are one and unchangeable from birth. Pope Francis has denounced it as a “great falsehood” and “a great enemy of marriage.” And the Congregation for Catholic Education has warned that it has caused an “educational crisis.”

As Pope Benedict XVI declared:

The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.

But this “profound falsehood” seems no longer obvious to Notre Dame. Rather, the contrary. A “New Student Requirement Form” asks:

What sex were you assigned at birth on your original birth certificate?

What is your current gender identity? (Male; Female; Transgender/Male/Transgender man/Female to Male (FTM); Transgender Female/Transgender Woman/ Male to Female (MTF); Genderqueer – neither exclusively male nor female; Other; Choose not to disclose.)

Preferred Pronouns.

Thus does the university confirm these young men and women in their grievous error.

Board of Trustees

In June of last year, a Board of Trustees task force issued a Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that is important here for two reasons:

First, it provides no warrant for either the admission of more of LGBT students or an LGBT alumni group. The focus is exclusively on improving representation of “Black, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian, and Native American members of this community.” 

Second, the Task Force recommended “ongoing Board oversight of these critical initiatives.”

Accordingly, we will provide the Board with our Open Letter to Dolly Duffy and our related reports about how the administration’s and NDAA’s actions are undermining Notre Dame’s Catholic mission and character.

Open Letter to Dolly Duffy

These developments underscore the gravity of our Open Letter requesting Dolly Duffy to explain NDAA’s actions. We urge all who have not joined the letter to do so now.



The Church teaches that, while persons with a homosexual orientation “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and while “every sign of unjust discrimination “ must be avoided, homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” that are “intrinsically disordered,” “contrary to the natural law,” and “under no circumstances [to] be approved.” 

This proscription, once widely shared, has become more and more unpopular over a remarkably short period of time. Colleges and universities have led the way, scorning traditional Christian values as odious and branding hateful those who express them. In these circumstances, it is deeply disappointing – if, sadly, unsurprising — to see the Jenkins administration act as if this constitutive Church teaching does not exist instead of standing fast with the Church against the tides of the times.

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