5:52 PM EDT, August 2, 2012
WDBJ7 has learned that Virginia Tech has added a new word when it comes to describing who is getting married on its campus.
Virginia Tech says this is not a big deal, but others disagree.
The Virginia Tech Chapel serves as a site for weddings, recitals and memorials, completely under the direction of the university.
Since its construction the chapel has acknowledged on paper only heterosexual weddings. That quietly changed a few weeks ago.
"Let's just get specific, the War Memorial Chapel has added a box on the form for the use of the facility that used to say bride and groom, now it says bride, groom, or spouse. Not everyone wants to be referred to as a bride or a groom," Larry Hincker, associate vice president of university relations said.
Virginia Tech sends out press releases nearly every day on various stories, but said nothing about this one. The explanation: "Now come on Orlando, we're not going to put out a press release for a change on a form."
But that one word "spouse" is understood to mean gays and lesbians -- one word on a form.
We asked to speak with someone from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which says this was an important step for the university, but were told they were not available for an interview.
So we reached out to a local church which supports gay and lesbian rights.
"To include the word ‘spouse’ is a definite step in the right direction," said Catherine Rolling, the Pastor at Glade Church in Blacksburg. "I would have hoped to see the word partner but spouse is an important step in the right direction."
We asked Virginia Tech's Larry Hincker who was behind the idea to add the word ''spouse."
He told us it was the staff at the chapel. We asked to speak with someone from the chapel and he said that was a no go.
A homosexual couple has not been married at the War Memorial Chapel since the new word has been added.
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