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After Controversy, Christian University Changes Gay Policy

Adelle M. Banks | Religion News Service | Monday, January 31, 2011

After Controversy, Christian University Changes Gay Policy

(RNS) -- A Christian university in Nashville, Tenn., has amended its nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation after a recent controversy involving a lesbian former soccer coach.

"We are a Christian community that is welcoming, loving and inclusive of everyone," said Belmont University President Bob Fisher in a Wednesday (Jan. 26) statement.

The change comes a month after the university's soccer coach, Lisa Howe, left her position after revealing that she and her lesbian partner were expecting a child.

In his announcement, Fisher said that sexual orientation was not a consideration in "hiring, promotion, salary or dismissal decisions" during the 11 years he has been president.

Howe hailed the policy change in a statement reported by The Tennessean.

"Significant change does not happen without sacrifice and without some people getting hurt along the way," she wrote. "However, in my opinion, everyone is a winner today."

The executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, however, said he was "saddened" by the school's decision, the Nashville newspaper reported.

"It sounds very much like a compromise of a traditional biblical worldview and the mores of the day," said the Rev. Randy Davis, whose Southern Baptist state convention severed ties with Belmont in 2007.

c. Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Publication date: January 31, 2011