I read a story this morning about something we don't hear much about: homosexuality bans on college campuses. Westmont College in California apparently has a ban, and alumni and faculty are speaking out against it:
"I was terrified that I'd be found out as someone dating a woman and that I'd be expelled," said Durkee, who went on to Yale Law School and a New York law firm.
Durkee is one of 31 gay and lesbian Westmont alumni who earlier this month roiled the Christian college in Montecito with an open letter in the college newspaper that spoke of the "doubt, loneliness and fear" they felt on a campus where homosexuality is taboo.
More than 100 fellow alumni signed on in support, and last week, 50 of Westmont's 92 faculty members responded to them in a sympathetic letter seeking "forgiveness for ways we might have added to your pain."
The college explicitly prohibits homosexuality on campus, making students sign a pledge not to be gay:
The college will not condone practices that Scripture forbids. Such activities include occult practices, sexual relations outside of marriage, homosexual practice, drunkenness, theft, profanity, and dishonesty. Westmont also recognizes that Scripture condemns "sins of the spirit" such as covetousness, jealousy, pride, and lust. By their very nature, these sins are more difficult to discern. Because they lie at the heart of the relationship between the individual and God they are of central concern to the Westmont community.
The LA Times article on the alumni and faculty letter discusses how some Christians are against homosexuality, some aren't, etc. That question is interesting, but it's besides the point. Why are they allowed to discriminate and receive federal funding?
That's a bigger question, but discrimination in higher education based on race was banned in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and discrimination based on sex was banned by Title IX. If an educational institution receives federal funding (Westmont is one of them), which almost all of them do because the bulk of student financial aide comes from the federal government, then they aren't allowed to discriminate.
Except when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, then colleges can discriminate all they want and send the federal government the bill. But I'm also surprised that there isn't a ban on this sort of discrimination in California state law, since the state also gives financial aide at Westmont. Isn't that supposed to be the most progressive, gay-friendly state with everything but the word marriage?
I wouldn't expect much from the federal government, otherwise. With Democratically controlled House, Senate, and White House and massive support from the American people, they couldn't even pass LGBT employment anti-discrimination protections. More students will keep on signing that pledge at 18, making college by 22 unbearable.