Salem terminates contract with Gordon College due to non-compliance
with City’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance
Salem, MA – In response to Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay’s recent actions in support of an exemption from federal regulations that bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the current policies at Gordon College that require strict adherence to behavioral standards for students, faculty and staff that are discriminatory towards LGBT individuals, Mayor Kim Driscoll sent a letter to President Lindsay this morning notifying him and his Board of Trustees of the City’s termination of their management contract of Old Town Hall due to the institution’s non-compliance with the City of Salem’s fully LGBT-inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
“I am truly disappointed in the stance you have taken, which plainly discriminates against the rights of LGBT individuals, both on and off campus,” said Mayor Driscoll in the letter to President Lindsay. “These actions fly in the face of the City of Salem’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which prohibits our municipality from contracting with entities that maintain discriminatory practices. While I respect your rights to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract for a publicly owned facility, like Old Town Hall. Moreover, I hope you realize how hurtful and offensive these “behavioral standards” are to members of the greater Salem LGBT
community, some of whom are Gordon alumni, staff and/or students.”
To ensure a smooth transfer of management, the City of Salem will work with the current Old Town Hall staff and those involved with the ongoing production of Cry Innocent! to mitigate any negative impact on employment and scheduled performances.
“It saddens me to curb our contractual relationship in this manner, despite a long and positive relationship with Gordon College over the years,” said Mayor Driscoll. “However, not doing so would be a violation of our Non-Discrimination Ordinance and even more troubling, allow a contractual relationship between the City of Salem and an institution that enables, and now advocates for discrimination against the LGBT community. As Mayor, I most certainly cannot let that stand.”
A copy of Mayor Driscoll’s letter to President Lindsay is attached, along with the text of Salem’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
On June 20th, the Human Rights Campaign – America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization – awarded Salem a perfect score on their Municipal Equality Index for the City’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance and the overall LGBT-inclusivity of the City’s laws, policies and services. For more information, visit: bit.ly/1qhrGMj.