Salem officials ban Gordon College from city building - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Salem officials ban Gordon College from city building

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SALEM, Mass. (WHDH) -

Salem's historic Old Town Hall dates back to the early 1800s but now it is swept up in a modern day battle between equality and religious liberty.

It began when Gordon College, a Christian college contracted to run functions at the hall, signed on to a letter asking President Obama for a religious exemption from a planned executive order banning discrimination against gays and lesbians.

An exemption, they argued, would protect "religious organizations that seek to serve in accordance with their faith and values."

When Salem's mayor caught wind of the letter she cut the city's contract with Gordon College, writing to the school's president that she is "truly disappointed in the stance you have taken, which plainly discriminates against the rights of LGBT individuals, both on and off campus."

“An institution that has that sort of perspective is not somebody that we want in the city as a business partner,” Salem City Councilor Josh Turiel said.

 A spokesperson for Gordon College says the school has always been respectful and welcoming to all individuals regardless of orientation.

Members of the local LGBT community back the mayor's decision to close the book on the college.

“We've worked very hard to make sure we have nondiscrimination policies here in Salem and we want to make sure that's continued in the future,” Chris Sicuranza, a member of Go Out Loud, said.

The college says they allow anyone on their campus, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as they abide by the school’s code of conduct which bans homosexuality.

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