A 22-year-old Oklahoma woman said her college singled her out in expelling her one semester away from completing her studies because she married another woman, Religion News Service reported on Friday.
"Students violate parts of [the school's] covenant all the time, but they don't get expelled," Christian Minard said regarding her dismissal from Southwestern Christian University. "I didn't even get a hearing, just a letter to my parents."
The school, which is affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, forbids "homosexual behavior" as part of its covenant. Other offenses listed in the school's code include harassment, sexual misconduct, and use of alcohol, tobacco and pornography.
Minard was expelled on June 9 in a letter from vice president of student life Brad Davis. Davis said he had been notified regarding Minard's March 17 marriage to partner Kadyn Parks in New Mexico, where marriage equality is legal, and had seen pictures of them online.
"As an American and a Christian, I do respect your choice," Davis' letter stated. "[But] I have to uphold the Lifestyle Covenant at SCU and confront you with our position. Due to this recent event, you will not be able to attend SCU in the future."
Minard told CNN that she grew up practicing the Lutheran faith and wanted to graduate from Southwestern Christian enough to continue attending classes after losing her basketball scholarship for medical reasons.
"I had questions, but I worked through those questions," she was quoted as saying. "And now I have a strong faith in God. And I believe you can still have faith in God and live a gay lifestyle."
School officials refused to comment on Minard's case, citing federal privacy laws. She was one semester away from graduating with a degree in sports management.
"There isn't a similar program at an area university, so I'd have to change my program of study," Minard told RNS. "And, being one semester from graduation means I have taken all my electives. I’ll lose all those credits if I transfer."
[Image via Agence France-Presse]