Supreme Court marriage equality plaintiffs create UofL scholarship for Catholic LGBT students

 LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, plaintiffs in the landmark 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell vs. Hodges that established marriage equality, have created a scholarship for Catholic LGBT students at the University of Louisville.

The endowed scholarship will be awarded annually, giving preference to LGBT graduates of Catholic high schools or LGBT UofL students of Catholic faith. The first gift will be awarded in May 2019.

“This scholarship is so unique, if not one-of-a-kind because it is both administered by a university foundation and also affirms LGBT Catholics so as to not force them to separate those identities,” Bourke said. “LGBT Catholic youth need to be supported and nurtured in their faith. Our hope is that this scholarship will, in a small way, encourage LGBT Catholics to remain faithful and work to eliminate all discrimination and inequality in the Catholic Church.  I believe that is our call as Christians: to help build up God’s kingdom.”

Bourkeis a 1979 graduate of the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences and met husband DeLeon while attending graduate school at the University of Kentucky in 1982. Greg is a graduate of Saint Xavier High School and holds a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, while Michael has a master’s degree from Bellarmine University. The couple, named “Persons of the Year” in 2015 by the National Catholic Reporter, were legally married in Canada in 2004 and are lifelong practicing Roman Catholics. Bourke and DeLeon currently serve as members of the UofL LGBT Alumni Council.

Bourke said his experience with the LGBT Alumni Council influenced his decision to start the scholarship, having seen firsthand how powerful “it has been to these students to get the affirmation and financial support they need in a world sometimes quite hostile toward LGBT people.”

Lisa Gunterman, director of the Belknap Campus LGBT Center, says the new scholarship is a great addition to the resources UofL offers LGBT students.

“I’m humbled by the ongoing support the Center has received from Greg and Michael over the years, both as members of the UofL LGBT Alumni Council and now with the creation of their scholarship,” Gunterman said. “Greg and Michael could have designated any charity as their beneficiary and we are honored that they chose to invest in students at the University of Louisville.”

Bourke was awarded an academic scholarship at UofL, which allowed him to attend college and influenced his decision to start his own scholarship.

“I felt like it was time to give back to the university so that a next generation of students can benefit from the success that was afforded to me as a result of my UofL education.”

If you would like to make a donation to this scholarship, contact Senior Director of Development, Denise Bohn at denise.bohn@louisville.edu  or 502-852-8824.

To apply for the scholarship, go here.

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Posted with permission from UofL Today

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