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Salem Mayor Has The Perfect Response For Anti-Gay Phone Calls

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Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll speaks in her office at City Hall in Salem, Mass. Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Driscoll is donating $5 to a local LGBT nonprofit for each anti-gay phone call her office receives. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

After Gordon College, a Christian institution near Boston, made a formal request for the legal ability to discriminate against gay applicants, the mayor of Salem, Mass. moved to end the school's use of a town hall.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll cited Gordon President Michael Lindsay signing onto a letter requesting exemption from a planned executive order from President Barack Obama that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT persons as reason for the town's actions against the college. Driscoll also cited existing Gordon policies prohibiting students from "homosexual practice," according to the Boston Globe.

"We're definitely very troubled by the recent actions by Gordon College," Driscoll told the Globe. "Their current behavioral standards are discriminatory both on campus and off campus."

Driscoll said she's been flooded with anti-gay calls since making the decision against Gordon, WDHD reports. Many of the calls were from out of state and Driscoll believes they were prompted by conservative Glenn Beck, who runs the website TheBlaze, which picked up Salem's stand against Gordon.

In response, Driscoll plans to donate $5 to a local LGBT nonprofit for each angry phone call she receives.

"I hope these donations, made as a direct result of the persistence of those who would deny LGBT citizens their equal rights will help you in growing and strengthening your organization," Driscoll wrote in a letter to North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.

Gordon faces additional scrutiny from its accrediting agency, which announced last week it would review the school for potential violations of non-discriminatory policies.

But Gordon's accreditation is not actually in jeopardy, the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges wrote to the college this week. Instead, the NEASSC wrote, it is common practice to review an institution when they are prominently in the news over a matter that may relate to the commission's policies. Gordon is emphasizing that letter in a website it created to address the controversy.

Salem announced on July 9 it was killing the contract with Gordon that allowed the college to use the town hall. The college had rented the two-century old town hall in Salem to maintain and help preserve it, and a college-affiliated group used the space for a small theater production.

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