Q — How do think the ruling has changed Iowa?Keep in mind that the Matthew Shepard Scholarship has provided financial assistance for 120 GLBT students here in Iowa since 2000 (many years before gays began legally marrying). Recipients need to be graduating high school seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an ACT score of 22 or better who have demonstrated "high moral and ethical standards" and who have demonstrated community services. Think Progress wisely notes that there are many specialty scholarships that specifically rewards African Americans, Latinos, women, and Christians (among other populations of people), but Golding is really concerned because Matthew Shepard Scholarship winners are all G, L, B, or T. It's also worth noting that this is a privately funded scholarship. People are not required to apply, nor is the government funding it.
Golding — “I don’t know how the ruling has dramatically changed, but I can see changes in the schools. I am a volunteer in the high schools. And in my daughter’s high school, they have a scholarship for a gay student. And I am curious what the sexual orientation of a student should be for a scholarship in high school. That troubles me.”
Q — Is that the only criteria for the scholarship?
“Well there’s academics, but you must be a declared GLBT student in order to apply for it. That troubles me.”
Let me also remind you of the story one of last year's scholarship winners, Ben Alley, who is able to go to college because of the Matthew Shepard Scholarship despite the fact that his parents kicked him out as a high school sophomore after learning he was gay. This formerly homeless teen has worked full-time and continued with high school since 16. His parents left him alone to sink or swim based off their religious beliefs. The Matthew Shepard Scholarship ensures that he has the opportunity to attend college and make something of his life.
But Golding is "troubled" that this scholarship exists...