The invitation of Mike Pence as commencement speaker was particularly difficult for the Notre Dame LGBTQ community, many of whom lived in Indiana during his term as Governor.
In the past, Pence has supported funding for conversion therapy. He also passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which initially contained no civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.
In response to the invitation, students, faculty, staff, and alumni came together to purchase and display 500 rainbow flags across campus. Despite some attempts to prevent their display and distribution, the response was mostly positive and supportive, showing the LGBTQ members of the Notre Dame community that they belong.