LGBT Law Forum Chastises Notre Dame Professor

A University of Notre Dame law professor has come under fire from the school’s LGBT law association after posting a blog harshly critical of same-sex marriage.

In a post entitled “Learning to Live with Same-Sex Marriage” published on the conservative Witherspoon Institute’s blog, Professor Gerald Bradley critiqued marriage equality by repeating arguments against it which have long been refuted.  One passage from his blog post:

“But all of us have to face—and will face for the rest of our days—the challenge of what to do about the two married guys who apply to live in your co-op, or who want you to take their family portrait, or who will soon join your school’s PTA, or who will eventually come to you for marital counselling. Same-sex weddings are the stuff of save-the-date and a precise GPS location. Same-sex marriage is everywhere, all of the time. One cannot hide from it.

“Of course, people have had to live with irregular sexual relationships since the dawn of time. But legalized same-sex marriage is different, and worse, than anything that has plagued societies before. For one thing, such relationships are about as far distant from real marriage as any relationship could be. Second, recognizing the sexual consortium of two men or two women as a marriage settles conclusively that marriage as such is sterile. (Indeed, that was the fundamental issue at stake in the whole fight over same-sex marriage.) Third, there are no fig leaves available to obscure or fudge the manifest immorality, and parody of marriage, presented by same-sex relationships. An opposite-sex couple in a bad marriage is not detectable as such at a glance. A merely cohabiting man and woman will not be wearing wedding rings and will not expect to be addressed as if they are spouses. And in decades and centuries past, those in irregular sexual relationships rarely demanded that their liaisons be treated as respectable and good, much less on a par with the procreative marriages of man and woman.”

According to, the LGBT Law Forum of the Notre Dame Law School issued a statement in opposition to Professor Gerald Bradley’s action. The organization, which is comprised of current law students, alumni, and faculty, acknowledged that while debate has a place in academic settings, homophobia does not:

“Professor Bradley’s comments do not reflect the values of Notre Dame Law School. As future lawyers, current attorneys, and concerned community members we recognize that a robust academic debate includes a diversity of perspectives. However, Professor Bradley’s disparaging comments about the LGBT community have no place in civilized academic debate.”

The Forum argues that Bradley’s blog goes against the Catholic teachings of the school by not welcoming LGBT students:

“In his article, Professor Bradley asked what he should do in the hypothetical situation of a married same-sex couple applying to live in his co-op or joining his school’s PTA. As members of the LGBT community at Notre Dame, we have a simple answer: Treat us with exactly the same kindness and respect as you would treat any other person. Father Hesburgh once stated, ‘We share the same divine life, that of Christ, our Head . . . if we should despise another, we despise Christ.’ With these words in mind, the LGBT Law Forum will continue to work to ensure that Notre Dame remains a place where all are welcome.”

This is not the first time this year that Notre Dame has come under fire for it’s treatment of LGBT students and staff. In May, the school invited conservative Catholic author Daniel C. Mattson to speak at a university sponsored event. Mattson advocates for LGBT people to remain celibate and to use the damaging and outdated terminology “same-sex attracted”.

 Above the Editor Joe Patrice wrote a scathing review of Professor Bradley’s blog post, drawing a comparison between LGBT equality and other civil rights fights:

“The parallels between the legal challenges facing the LGBTQ community and the black community in the aftermath of legalized segregation are clichéd because they’re true, but for the sake of showing our work, which of these ‘challenges’ weren’t asked with equal vitriol about black people in the 1960s? That this can be lost on a constitutional law professor is deeply troubling.”

Patrice also reminds readers that the fight for marriage equality did not end with Obergefell v. Hodges, a sober reminder the week after the disappointment of the Supreme Court Masterpiece Cake verdict:

“This is what gives me pause whenever rumors circulate about Justice Kennedy’s looming retirement. He clearly relishes his legacy as the author of the Court’s landmark gay rights cases, and yet he’s got to be savvy enough to know that his legacy will be relegated to the trash heap of history if he jumps ship right now and offers the Heritage Foundation the last vote they need to reverse course on everything he’s helped achieve. There’s a fun thought experiment to be had about a world where, say, Pryor replaces Kennedy and marriage equality isn’t immediately thrown under the bus, but Professor Bradley’s sense of constitutional law isn’t far enough in the rearview mirror to take it seriously over the long term. Maybe, maybe, Justice Roberts provides a mealymouthed fifth vote in the first challenge, but not without taking pot shots at restricting the rights of same-sex couples. And if another vacancy were to open? Justice Kennedy’s legacy would morph instantly from hero to the guy who enabled the clawback of decades of advancement.”

Notre Dame Law School and other Catholic universities and organizations across the country continue to fight for the full inclusion of LGBT students in their organizations. However, homophobic attacks like those bestowed by Professor Bradley are just hateful, and do not allow for discussion on issues like the intersection of religious freedoms and civil rights.

–Kaitlin Brown, New Ways Ministry, June 13, 2018

2 replies
  1. Brian Kneeland
    Brian Kneeland says:

    While I applaud the LGBT supportive law group at Notre Dame – it would be more impressive if the University itself would reprimand this professor. Plus, Catholic (?) institutions need to stop being silenced when such discrimination occurs. And – the professor argues that a man and a woman is a valid marriage but same-sex ones are sterile. I’m sure the professor would say that a man and woman in their 60’s would be a valid marriage – even though theirs is also sterile. I am always so disappointed by our church in these matters – and don’t say it is religious freedom – that means “license to discriminate” the same as it did about slavery and women voting.

    • Friends
      Friends says:

      Excellent points, Brian. Here’s another contentious hypothetical: a man develops testicular cancer, and (upon his physician’s advice) has his testicles surgically removed, to prevent any further spread of the cancer. So what would Bradley, the moral authoritarian, decree about this situation? Would he declare that the unfortunate man’s subsequent marriage to a woman would continue to stand as completely valid — but his marriage to another man would be classified as morally invalid? Upon what rational basis would Bradley presume to issue such a magisterial decree? My bottom-line exhortation to Bradley would be: mind your own business, and let other people attend to the business which is properly their own. Their business is absolutely no concern of yours.


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