Mitt Romney will deliver this year's
commencement address at the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University
on May 12.
“We are delighted that Governor
Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty's 2012
graduates,” Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said in a
statement. “This will be a historic event for Liberty University
reminiscent of the visits of Governor, and then presidential
candidate, Ronald Reagan to Liberty's campus in 1980 and of President
H. W. Bush who spoke at Liberty's 1990 Commencement ceremony.”
It will be the GOP presidential
candidate's first visit to the Lynchburg, Virginia college.
Romney, a Mormon who has struggled to
win over evangelical Christians, is facing mounting pressure from
conservatives to take a stronger stand against gay rights, in
particular marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
The school, which forbids openly gay
students from attending, has previously condemned
the Democratic Party's support for gay rights.
Liberty University law professors Matt
Barber and Judith Reisman are vocal opponents of gay rights. Barber
has claimed that gay marriage ban DOMA
protects kids from HIV/AIDS, has labeled the Fox musical-comedy
homosexual promotion,” and has claimed that gay teens commit
suicide not because they are bullied but because they
know “what they are doing is unnatural.” Barber
and Reisman have suggested that gay rights advocates promote