CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A victory in an Ohio federal appeals court by University of Michigan volunteer student lawyers who stopped the Bush's Administration's move to deport a gay refugee could add to faculty unease at another campus -- Southern Methodist University.
Last week, 68 SMU professors and theologians signed a manifesto questioning the school's plans for a $500 million presidential library and think tank that would open after President George W. Bush leaves office. They gave him low marks on gay rights, civil liberties and the environment.
But until now, few knew the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Ohio invoked the Convention Against Torture and ruled last week a 47-year-old homosexual Guatemalan faced serious persecution at home. The man sought asylum in the U.S., claiming he had been raped, beaten, and extorted by authorities in his homeland. Justice Department lawyers contended he should be kicked out even though U.S. diplomats said authorities in Guatemala turned a 'blind eye" to violence against gays. The Bush Administration said the claim of government-countenanced gay bashing was 'without merit."
The appeals court noted there was evidence of ''social cleansing" in Guatemala and cited a U.S. State Department "letter that the Guatemalan police turn a deliberate blind eye toward the persecution of homosexuals in that country."
The full text of the 22-page opinion is available HERE.
Heather Bobkova and Rita Abro, the Michigan student lawyers, obtained the court order invoking the Convention Against Torture.
Official info about the presidential library is HERE , and the SMU campus portal is HERE.
The SMU faculty letter first draft is pretty critical of the president:
“We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.”
“[T]hese violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University.”