A Catholic student group at Georgetown University could be stripped of its funding for its belief in traditional marriage.
Love Saxa, a group that advocates for marriage between a man and a woman, is under fire from LGBTQ groups on campus, PRIDE and Queer People of Color, according to The Hoya, Georgetown’s student publication. A pro-choice student senator filed a notice on September 25, arguing Love Saxa’s definition of marriage and relationships violates university standards by fostering hatred or intolerance.
The notice, which would identify Love Saxa as a hate group, could strip Love Saxa of its funding and bar it from using campus facilities. The group receives $250 a year from the Georgetown, which is the country’s oldest Catholic university.
Love Saxa petitioned for a delay because it was not given enough time to defend itself and had not seen the notice, according to the Catholic News Agency. A hearing, originally set for Monday, is now scheduled for Oct. 30.
The controversy began last month, when the president of Love Saxa, Amelia Irvine, published an op-ed titled “Confessions of a College Virgin” in The Hoya, talking about abstinence before marriage and the group’s definition of marriage.
“Love Saxa’s definition of marriage does not include same-sex couples, as we believe that marriage is a conjugal union on every level – emotional, spiritual, physical and mental – directed toward caring for biological children. To us, marriage is much more than commitment of love between two consenting adults.”
The student newspaper then targeted Love Saxa in an editorial titled “Defund Intolerance.”
“Love Saxa does not deserve the benefit of university recognition” and “should be ineligible for any university benefits,” The Hoya wrote, claiming the group’s “mission advocates against equal rights for the LGBTQ community” and “fosters intolerance.”
Love Saxa put out a statement condemning the Hoya’s actions as “intolerant of the values and beliefs” of Georgetown.
“Love Saxa exists to promote healthy and loving relationships at Georgetown,” said Irvine. “Our definition of ‘healthy relationships’ and ‘sexual integrity’ is synonymous with those of the Catholic Church, and therefore those of Georgetown University. If the Hoya wishes to call Love Saxa a hate group, we anticipate that it will not be long until other traditional religious groups are labeled ‘hate groups’ as well.”
The university released a statement that did not appear take sides -- just yet.
“As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, Georgetown listens deeply and discerningly to the plurality of voices that exist among our students, faculty, and staff and is committed to the care of each member of our community,” said a Georgetown University spokesperson. “As the students on the Student Activities Commission review the complaint regarding Saxa formally submitted by individual students on Oct. 22, we encourage all students to follow our community commitment to open dialogue and mutual respect.”
Irvine is optimistic that the university will uphold the group’s right to exist, but issued a warning to her fellow classmates.
“If we cannot safely advocate for beliefs synonymous with Catholic social teaching,” she said, “then no group at Georgetown can be certain of its security.”