OutLaws and Allies protests outside Green Hall

Protesters gather at the Green Hall tent to protest the local chapter of the Federalist Society asking Jordan Lorence to speak on campus.

Students gathered outside of Green Hall on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the LGBTQ community and to protest a group that supports legislation discriminating against them.

The celebration was organized by a student group called OutLaws and Allies after learning that KU’s Federalist Society invited Jordan Lorence, director of strategic engagement at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to speak at Green Hall.

ADF is a legal advocacy group that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to their support in the re-criminalization of sexual acts within the LGBTQ community.

Joshua Sipp, editor-in-chief of the Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy and a second-year law student, said that the choice to host Lorence was an irresponsible decision.

“To have that [group] hosted on campus, in our law school, it’s offensive to me and it’s offensive to a lot of people who are here in attendance today,” Sipp said.

Corrinne Yoder-Mulkey, first-year representative for OutLaws and Allies, played a key role in planning this celebration in hopes to give LGBTQ students a place to feel safe and loved.

“[ADF] holds a lot of really harmful views towards LGBTQ people,” Yoder-Mulkey said. “We decided that the best course of action would be to just have a space for ourselves and to celebrate.”

Sipp said that the best way to offset the negativity from the event is to allow individuals to come together to create an inclusive environment.

“What we’re dealing with in there is a very vocal minority of people that want to spread hate,” Sipp said. “The best way that I’ve found to counteract that is to go ahead, let the many voices congregate, let them speak, let them gather, and let them meet that hate with love and compassion.”

Some students feel uncomfortable with the idea of being inside of Green Hall while this event is being hosted, Yoder-Mulkey said.

“It’s not a very safe environment. We deserve to be able to go to school and feel safe just like everybody else,” Yoder-Mulkey said.

The tent set up outside of Green Hall was covered in a variety of pride flags, decorations and signs with messages such as “Homophobes are statistically more likely to be gay.”

Emily Featherston, Vice President of OutLaws and Allies, said that the organization thought that this event would take the attention away from Lorence and the ADF.

“Our president and our [first-year] representative did most of this work with chatting with Dean Terranova and seeing what we could do to support our students,” Featherston said.

Featherston said that OutLaws and Allies had plenty of other groups and student organizations sign a letter asking the Federalist Society to not bring designated hate groups onto campus for future events.

When speaking with other student groups, OutLaws and Allies tries to emphasize just wanting to encourage spreading love among classmates.

“People are allowed to make their own decisions and I just hope that people can see the love that we have for each other and the community,” Yoder-Mulkey said.

The Federalist Society did not respond to a request for comment via email.