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Student petitions for same-sex marriage on Loyola's campus

  • Christine Irvine (left) and Mary Nicols (right). The couple has been together since April 2011 and plans on getting married this summer, but not in their first-choice venue on Loyola University's campus.
Christine Irvine (left) and Mary Nicols (right). The couple has been together…
November 25, 2013|By Courtney Jacquin @courtneyjacquin | RedEye

Loyola University’s campus along the lakefront is beautiful, and the perfect place to hold a wedding. But it’s not welcome for everyone.

Christine Irvine, 26, transferred to Loyola this fall and fell in love with the campus. Irvine got engaged to her partner Mary Nicol in April of 2013 and felt that the university would be the perfect locale for the ceremony.

“The first person I spoke with was really helpful, but didn’t realize my partner was female,” Irvine said. “When I called back to set up an appointment, I was told that the university didn’t allow [same-sex unions] in their venues anywhere on campus.”

The university responded to Irvine, telling her that they don’t hold ceremonies that aren’t recognized by the state on the campus, though at the time Irvine and Nicol were planning on a civil union. Now that Illinois has become the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage, Loyola still hasn’t made a decision to change their policy.

“We are currently assessing what our policy will be. As you know, we have until June 1 for the law to be in effect,” said Maeve Kiley, director of communications for Loyola.

To fight Loyola’s policy, Irvine created a petition on change.org to urge the university to change its current standing. The petition currently has more than 2,800 signatures and continues to grow.

“I have received an overwhelming amount of support both from all the fellow students, faculty, staff who have signed the petition expressing their support,” Irvine said. “It seems that a majority of people wish that same-sex couples could be considered equal in regards to hosting their marriages.”

Irvine wasn’t asking for the ceremony to take place in the chapel on campus, just one of its event halls. After getting little response from the university, she wants Loyola to embody its values and take a stand on the issue.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for [Loyola] to more embody Jesuit values of social justice and stand in line,” Irvine said.

Since the couple is planning on a ceremony for the summer of 2014, they have been forced to look into other LGBTQ-friendly venues, but Loyola’s campus still remains their No. 1 choice.

“We would be really happy if Loyola changed their decision,” Irvine said. “And not just for my fiancée and I.”

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