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The University of Notre Dame has refused to give official recognition to a student group arguing that children are better off being raised by a heterosexual married couple instead of a same-sex couple.
Notre Dame's Club Coordination Council recently refused to recognize the Students for Child Oriented Policy, prompting some to claim viewpoint discrimination at the Catholic academic institution.
Dennis Brown, spokesperson for Notre Dame, told The Christian Post that the rejection was based on SCOP duplicating the mission of other recognized student clubs.
"SCOP is one of six proposed clubs whose applications were denied this spring, and 31 percent of club applications have been denied over the past five years, most for the same reason – duplication of purpose," said Brown.
"SCOP leaders have been encouraged to meet with their peers in CCC to discuss how and why their purpose duplicates that of other clubs and to determine how they might reapply in the fall."
Brown added that Notre Dame already had multiple "religiously affiliated clubs that promote Catholic Church teaching in all ways," which would include the Church's stance in favor of marriage being between one man and one woman.
Groups specifically named by Brown include Campus Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, Communion and Liberation of Notre Dame, Filii Mariae (Latin for "Children of Mary"), and the Identity Project of Notre Dame.
According to its Facebook group, which has, as of Wednesday, over 120 members, SCOP is described as "a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Notre Dame who are focused on the debate about marriage taking place in Indiana."
"SCOP's overarching concern is that policymakers are failing to approach their task with a view to how those policies will affect children. They seem to conceive of policy only as it will affect the stable, independent adult with resources," continued the description.
"We aim to build up a network of students across Indiana that will unite in favor of child-oriented policies -- especially regarding marriage, at the current moment. We reject the view that the young have agreed to redefine marriage."
Tiernan Kane, a Notre Dame student who sought to have SCOP gain recognition, said in an interview with the National Catholic Register that he did not believe his student group violated the rules of not being distinct enough.
"If … officials and voting members of the CCC read our application documents, as I assume they did, how they could have identified our distinct and timely mission with that of any active university club is beyond me," said Kane to NCR.
According to Notre Dame's Student Activities website, in addition to not duplicating another student club's mission, a recognized student organization must, among other things, have a faculty advisor and more than half its officers be enrolled students.
Once recognized, a student group will have a university account with the Student Union Treasurer's office rather than an off-campus bank account.