Michigan law students call graduation speaker ‘openly hostile’ toward gay rights

Rob Portman

Rob Portman

Rob Portman

Students at the University of Michigan Law school have expressed outrage over the selection of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to deliver the commencement address, saying his “openly hostile” position on gay rights makes him an inappropriate choice.

Portman is a 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

The Michigan Daily reports:

Hundreds of Law School students have expressed their opposition to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R–Ohio) as the Law School’s graduation ceremony speaker on May 7. The students have voiced their opinions to the school’s administration through letters and meetings throughout the past week and have communicated their disappointment with the choice primarily because of Portman’s record of voting against LGBT rights.

Despite the students’ concerns, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Portman, a Law School alum, will still be speaking at the Senior Day ceremony.

The students cited Portman’s vote as a congressman in 1996 for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that said no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage. DOMA has since been declared unconstitutional in federal court.

The students also cited Portman’s votes in 1999 to bar same-sex couples in Washington, D.C., from adopting, and in 2004 for an unsuccessful bill to amend the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

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