Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer says that Hamline University passed him up for a position teaching business law because of his stance on gay marriage. Hamline bars discrimination against LGBT people by faculty members and Emmer has a clear record of promoting discrimination against LGBT, but it is clear from news reports that Emmer is being hyperbolic and that his politics had less to do with the process used to select him in the first place.

The Pioneer Press reports:

In a letter to Hamline President Linda Hanson, Emmer said, “Madam President, is there a requirement that every faculty member at Hamline conform on the issue of marriage? Is there only one point of view allowed? Is there no political or religious freedom recognized at Hamline? I thought the ‘mission’ at Hamline University was to educate – not to inculcate.”

Among other things, it made a reference to [Pro. David] Schultz saying faculty members were concerned Emmer was simply being selected by McCarthy, which goes against the faculty handbook, and that he held “political positions that were incompatible with the university’s mission, specifically his stance on same-sex marriage.”

“Isn’t this exactly what certain segments of our population call bullying?” Emmer asked.

Emmer was referring to an article in the Hamline Oracle last week about his not being hired. And he is calling for the article to be pulled from the student-run newspaper and to have the university issue an apology.

But according to the article that Emmer cites — and wants retracted — it was more the process of how Emmer was to be hired than his stances against equality for LGBT people:

Schultz said that after staff began hearing about the possibility of Emmer joining the Hamline faculty, e-mails were drafted by some staff members to be sent to administration outlining their concerns over the hiring of Emmer.

Schultz said that the faculty was concerned for two major reasons, including whether the political positions Emmer holds were incompatible with the university’s mission, specifically his stance on same-sex marriage.

The second concern stemmed from the way Emmer was possibly being hired. Staff were being told that he was simply selected by McCarthy, which goes against the faculty handbook, Schultz said. The procedures for new hires includes a hiring committee and faculty review, which was not happening at the time faculty heard the rumors that Emmer was being hired.

Ont he question of whether the hiring of Emmer would be incompatible with the university’s mission: Hamline has a strong anti-discrimination stance that includes LGBT people that faculty and staff must adhere to.

Hamline’s anti-discrimination policy states:

It shall be a violation of this policy, as an act of discrimination, for any Hamline employee or student to make an adverse decision against any member of the Hamline community with respect to any employment or educational opportunity on the basis of race; color; gender/sex; ethnic background; national origin; sexual orientation; gender presentation;marital, domestic partner or parental status; status with regard to public assistance; disability; religion; age; or veteran status.

Ememr’s career of working to deny LGBT people full equality under the law was an issue in his gubernatorial campaign.

Emmer took the lead on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2007.

He opposes GLBT-inclusive anti-bullying legislation.

Emmer proposed an amendment in committee to ban gay and lesbian couples (as well as unmarried heterosexual couples) from using a surrogate mother.

He voted to deny local governments the ability to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees, voted against health care benefits for partners of state employees, voted against allowing public school students to learn about age-appropriate comprehensive sex education, and voted to deny same-sex couples the legal right to make decisions concerning the remains of their partner.

And he called HIV prevention outreach to gay men “disgusting discourse” and led an effort to strip the Minnesota AIDS Project of state funding.

The flap has caught the attention of the Minnesota Family Council, a group that included information on its website this year that alleged that gays and lesbians have sex with animals and children.

The head of the Minnesota Family Council, Tom Prichard, asked, “If you’re pro-marriage does that mean you need not apply for a position with Hamline business school?”

He said it was “Another example of intolerance and narrow mindedness on the part of the left?”

The Minnesota College Republicans released a statement as well:

“This sends the wrong message to conservative students at Hamline, and any students looking to apply there. Hamline University is a school that allegedly stands for diversity of opinion, but apparently that only applies if you meet the standards of the liberal activists who are already faculty. This is just another example of an educational institution attempting to insulate itself from anything that might challenge its engrained liberal beliefs of practices. Gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with business law or Emmer’s abilities to teach it. If liberal activist David Schultz can work there, why can’t Tom?”

Emmer found another job earlier this week. He’s been tapped to head up the Minnesota Faith and Freedom Coalition, a reboot of the 1980s Christian Coalition, and a group that has fought hard against equality for LGBT people.

The Column is a community-supported non-profit news, arts, and media organization. We depend on community support to continue the work of solid LGBT-centric journalism. If you like this article, consider visiting Give MN to make a contribution today.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here