GALA ND/SMC is deeply saddened by the recent “religious freedom” bill passed by the Indiana legislature and signed into law by Governor Pence. This bill, in effect, allows individual business owners to “refuse service” to LGBT individuals based upon their religious beliefs.
GALA has an event scheduled in South Bend on April 10th, the Thomas Dooley Award Dinner. This event has been in the planning for many months. Similar to other organizations conducting activities in Indiana, we have carefully evaluated the options available to us, including potentially moving the event.
We are pleased to tell you that the Dooley Award Dinner will take place as scheduled. Unlike others, who have a presence in many locations, GALA has it’s roots in the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community. These two campuses are our “home”. Not only did we go to school here, we started our journey into adulthood here, we grew as individuals with the help of classmates, teachers, coaches and staff. We developed bonds to this special place that have existed for many years and will continue for many more.
In the end, we may strongly disagree with this new law, but we are equally committed and resolved to support the ND/SMC and South Bend LGBT community by continuing to host our event as planned. While others may show their disagreement by choosing to leave the state, our “home” is firmly planted at Notre Dame and St Mary’s, and we choose to stay in solidarity and demonstrate our support in light of the decision. In the spirit of Fr. Hesburgh, we honor his memory by standing up for what is right!
We are also especially pleased by the immediate support shown by local business and civic leaders in South Bend, including Mayor Buttigieg. They have been very vocal in their message that “all are welcome”.
We encourage anyone who shares our resolve to join us at the event. It will be a celebration of the great work performed helping LGBT individuals feel more included and accepted both on the playing field and in all walks of life.
GALA ND/SMC Officers and Board