`Milk’ filmmaker turns down invitation from Christian college

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HOLLAND, Mich. (RNS) The Oscar-winning writer behind “Milk” turned down an invitation to talk shop with students at a Christian college here, after administrators had earlier barred him from talking about gay rights.

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his original screenplay for “Milk,” is in the Holland area directing a new film “What’s Wrong with Virginia?”

Students at Hope College, which is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, had requested a screening of “Milk” followed by a forum discussion about sexuality. Black also was invited by the college’s English Department to speak to a screenwriting class. Hope leaders nixed the roundtable discussion, saying Black’s “notoriety as an advocate for gay rights would not contribute constructively to the ongoing exploration and dialogue on our campus.”

Administrators said Black was welcome to meet with the class to discuss his craft, but English Department Chairman David Klooster said Black declined.

Attempts to reach Black were unsuccessful, but a representative from TicTock Studios said the decision might be a result of a tight schedule rather than the original snub.

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