Rob Portman, Michigan Law '84, has been chosen as the University of Michigan Law School's commencement speaker (okay, they call it Senior Day, but whatever). Portman has the kind of distinguished credentials one would expect of an M-Law commencement speaker -- he's the junior U.S. Senator from Ohio and served the Bush II administration in two capacities, as U.S. Trade Representative and as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). What has triggered controversy is what opponents of the choice characterize as Portman's "vocal and active" opposition to gay rights. Above the Law published a copy of a petition circulating among 3Ls, which includes this appeal to Michigan civil rights pride:
Michigan Law prides itself on its commitment to diversity and tolerance, and throughout its history, the school has demonstrated that these are not just platitudes. As the second American university to bestow a law degree on an African American, Gabriel Hargo, and the first to admit a woman, Sarah Kilgore, we have a long and admirable civil rights legacy.