From a CU podium in 1992, McCartney referred to homosexuality as "an abomination against almighty God" in support of Amendment 2, which prohibited laws protecting gays from discrimination.
McCartney, 70, coached the Buffaloes during their heyday in the late 1980s and early '90s, winning one national championship. He is now seeking to get his job back, vacant after Dan Hawkins was fired.
But the school has received 15-20 letters urging them to not hire McCartney in light of his past advocacy, the Boulder Daily Camera reports. In addition to campaigning for the anti-gay Amendment 2 (which passed but which was later ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court), McCartney founded the Promise Keepers.
At the height of his CU coaching career, in 1990, McCartney started the Promise Keepers. The male Christian group attracted more than 50,000 men to Folsom Field in 1994 before it moved to Mile High Stadium in Denver to accommodate larger crowds.
In 1985, the university adopted a policy that "coaches should not organize or conduct religious activities, including promotion of prayer or Bible readings by players or coaches." The policy was adopted after complaints of team prayers and organized religious activities conducted by McCartney.
Glenda Russell, a psychologist on campus, is among those opposed to hiring McCartney.
McCartney has every right to have his own beliefs," she said. "But he stepped over the line on a number of occasions when he used his position at the university to promulgate those beliefs and insist that other people join him in behaviors that were associated with those beliefs."
A 2001 posting on a listserv reprinted a McCartney article saying that homosexuality can be cured:
For decades we've been told that homosexuality is genetically ingrained and unchangeable, but a new study shows that's not true. ...
Until now, homosexuals have been discouraged from seeking help to change, and those who offer help have been criticized as frauds, leaving gays and lesbians who are unhappy with their lifestyle with little more than despair. But, no longer! ... There is hope.
McCartney is certainly entitled to believe what he wishes, but his political advocacy against gay rights should make a publicly supported university like Colorado which embraces diversity think twice about making him the face of the school's most prominent sports team. He may think being gay is an "abomination," but that word applies best to a belief system that would espouse such hate.