PFLAG Urges Washington University to Reconsider Honorary Doctorate for Phyllis Schlafly

For Immediate Release
May 08, 2008                                                                                   

Contact:  Steve Ralls
(202) 467-8180, ext. 214 /


PFLAG Urges Washington University to Reconsider
Honorary Doctorate for Phyllis Schlafly
Controversial Activist Has Long History of Anti-GLBT, Anti-Woman Positions


St. Louis, Missouri – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has joined calls by Washington University students and faculty, urging the school to reconsider its plans to honor controversial activist Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate at the school’s May 16 commencement ceremonies in St. Louis. Schlafly, founder of the conservative advocacy group The Eagle Forum, has been an outspoken opponent of equal rights measures for the women’s and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.  In addition to her opposition to marriage equality for the GLBT community, Schlafly has also sought to block public school curriculums which present honest portrayals of GLBT people. 

“Phyllis Schlafly has spent much of her life on a crusade to roll-back opportunities for millions of people, including many of the students at Washington University,” said Dr. Dean L. Rosen, president of PFLAG’s St. Louis chapter.  “She has consistently opposed full equality for women and for gays and lesbians, and has pushed her anti-equality agenda in our schools and our state houses.  As parents and allies of GLBT young people, we are alarmed that Washington University would honor someone who has such a long track record of attacking our children.”

In 2005, Schlafly, whose son is openly gay, wrote, in opposition to a proposed curriculum in Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools that, “Some teachers hang pro-homosexual posters in their classrooms, discuss their lesbian lifestyle in class, and refer students to gay, lesbian and bisexual organizations, while not allowing posters celebrating traditional families.”  She has also opposed adoption rights for same-sex couples and allowing GLBT Americans to serve in the armed forces.

“Mrs. Schlafly has one of the longest track records opposing equal opportunity of any activist in America,” said PFLAG executive director Jody M. Huckaby.  “She would gladly embrace any measure to block progress for gay Americans, including her own son, and she would welcome a world where some students are considered less than others.  That’s unacceptable, and renders her unworthy of this honor.  We encourage Washington University to find a more suitable person to applaud.”

Students and faculty have not asked that Schlafly be disinvited as a speaker for the commencement, but only that she not receive the proposed degree.  A Facebook group of those united in opposition to honoring Schlafly now has more than 1,000 members, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.  For more information, visit