SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 9, 2014

Salem nixes Gordon College contract

SALEM — Citing what she calls Gordon College's discriminatory policy toward gays and lesbians, Mayor Kim Driscoll has terminated the school's contract to manage the city-owned Old Town Hall.

In a letter send to Gordon President Michael Lindsay Wednesday morning, Driscoll said she is "truly disappointed" in Lindsay's recent support of a religious exemption from federal regulations that bar employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"While I respect you right 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 public owned facility, like Old Town Hall," Driscoll wrote.

The city had planned to take over management of Old Town Hall at the end of August, but Driscoll said she is now terminating the contract with Gordon College effective on Tuesday.

The city has partnered with Gordon College since 1992 in running Old Town Hall, where the production of "Cry Innocent!" and The Salem Museum are based.

Driscoll said Gordon's policies, which forbid homosexual practice, "fly in the face" of the city's non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits the city from contracting with organizations that have discriminatory practices.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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