Southwestern Christian University Expels Student Who Married Her Partner
An Oklahoma religious university expelled a lesbian student on July 9 who married her partner, saying that doing so violated the "lifestyle covenant" she signed upon admission.
The Washington Post reports that 22-year-old Christian Minard was just one semester shy of getting her sports management degree at Southwestern Christian University when the school's vice president of student life arrived at her parents' home to tell her she was being expelled.
"I was informed that you recently married someone of the same sex and saw a few pictures from Facebook," wrote VP Brad Davis. "Of course, this is opposing to our view as an International Pentecostal Holiness denominational university as well as the Lifestyle Covenant that all students must agree and sign... Due to this recent event, you will not be able to attend SCU in the future."
Minard belongs to an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation in Oklahoma City. As part of her admission requirements to the university, which is affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Bethany, she signed a "lifestyle covenant" that prohibits "homosexual behavior."
When she married her partner, Kadyn Parks, in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 17, that apparently went afoul of the school's policy. The "lifestyle covenant" also prohibits harassment, sexual misconduct, pornography, alcohol, tobacco and other "sins" -- apparently including the "sin" of matrimony.
Minard stands to see all of her hard work go down the drain.
"There isn't a similar program at an area university, so I'd have to change my program of study," Minard said. "And, being one semester from graduation means I have taken all my electives. I'll lose all those credits if I transfer."
"I'm trying to figure out how and where I can graduate," she told CNN, noting that she'll have to start paying off her loans at the end of next year unless things change. "It's going to be hard to get into classes that may be full, because they gave me very little notice before the fall semester starts."
She said she believes she was singled out because she is married and a lesbian, adding, "Students violate parts of that covenant all the time, but they don't get expelled. I didn't even get a hearing, just a letter to my parents."
Minard told CNN that although she grew up Lutheran and initially struggled with her faith and her sexuality, she "worked through those questions and now I have a strong faith in God. And I believe you can still have faith in God and live a gay lifestyle."