One of Ireland’s leading universities, The National University of Ireland, Galway, has suspended the religious, student-based society, The Legion of Mary.
The suspension of the society follows allegations that the group distributed leaflets on the college's campus that were homophobic.
The Legion of Mary is a lay Catholic organization whose members give service to the church on a voluntary basis in almost every country.
The NUI Galway chapter provoked a strong reaction and criticism when they distributed leaflets encouraging students to “move beyond the confine of the homosexual label.”
Reacting to the incident, Vice President of student experience at NUI Galway Dr Pat Morgan, initiated an inquiry into the distribution of the controversial leaflets. The distribution of the leaflets was primarily on the main quad of the campus.
It is believed to have cause widespread anger with the LGBT students at the University. The LGBT society ‘Gig Soc’ in NUI Galway thanked the wider community for their support over the past number of days. Reports suggest that some students on the campus felt alienated by the literature.
The society issued the following statement on their facebook page: “As a society we have to respect the views and beliefs of other college societies. Therefore it is necessary to allow all societies to express their own viewpoint. With saying this we believe that everyone has the opportunity and the right to express themselves and their believes however they want as long as it doesn’t impede on others. As a society we promote this and are here to help and to support any person who is having difficulty with their identity."
The Legion of Mary was found to have breached the university's code of conduct at a disciplinary meeting earlier this week and was immediately suspended. The group, which also refers to itself as the “courage group,” outraged many students by calling on people with attractions towards the same sex to “move beyond the confines of homosexuality” and to further develop "an interior life of chastity."
The university, supported by the student union, issued the following statement:
“NUI Galway is committed to protecting the liberty and equality of all students and does not condone such behavior.”
“NUI Galway has a pluralist ethos and will not condone the production and dissemination of any material by students which discriminates against other students. Discrimination or implied or direct harassment, on the basis of sexual orientation and/or religion, is contrary to Irish and European law.”
The Legion of Mary society have apologized for their actions and for any offense their campaign may have caused.
Here is the text of the literature circulated at NUI Galway by The Legion of Mary: