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Utah State University students, employees and alumni are the latest to criticize two of the college's professors who signed a court brief opposing gay marriage.
A group of about 250 is "deeply saddened" by the notion that children of same-sex marriages are worse off, they wrote in a letter Tuesday to two faculty members at the state school.
The pair of Logan professors were among about a dozen Utah academics who signed the "100 scholars" amicus brief filed last month by attorney Gene Schaerr. The document warned that same-sex marriage could lead to 900,000 more abortions over the next three decades.
"Using your university name and credentials to discriminate against the LGBTQ community," the Utah State petitioners wrote, "is disappointing to many of the students who have been or will be in your classroom."
But philosophy professor Richard Sherlock disagrees. "Because I think gay marriage is wrong," he said, "does not mean that I have any animus, dislike, prejudice or bias against gay people."
He later added in an email: "We all have views. Our task as teachers is not to keep those views hidden but ensure that we are being fair to students who disagree."
Sherlock still defends his signature. If the Supreme Court decision expected in June gives gay couples nationwide the right to marry, polyandry and polygamy and incestuous marriages will follow, he said.
The other Utah State brief co-signer, consumer and human development professor Kay Bradford, did not respond to a phone call Tuesday afternoon. He has requested his name be removed from the brief because his "views have been misunderstood," he wrote in an email, but declined to give details.
The court document notes that professors signed their school names only as identifiers and were not necessarily speaking on behalf of their colleges. But the footnote means little to the petitioners.
The document has struck a nerve on other campuses, too. Last week, 100 employees of Utah Valley University criticized President Matthew Holland's decision to sign in a letter to the editor of The Salt Lake Tribune.
UVU countered in a statement that Holland is committed to diversity and signed his school title to identify himself, not to represent the state university.
Some medical students at the University of Utah also took issue with a signature from an adjunct professor. The group of 56 students sent a letter asking whether Richard Farnsworth agrees with the abortion statement and how he would respond to LGBT patients and students.
Nine professors from Brigham Young University or the school's Idaho campus also signed. And another from Southern Utah University signed.
The nation's highest court declined to hear the case to reinstate Utah's ban on gay marriage, but heard oral arguments in another case in recent weeks. A ruling is expected before the court adjourns in June.
University President Stan Albrecht was on vacation Tuesday but had responded earlier by email to a student who organized the petition. Albrecht wrote that he has "no problem" with the petition but did not weigh in on the original brief.
"One of the basic tenets of university life," Albrecht wrote, "is that we value and encourage open dialogue about matters of importance in the classroom and beyond."