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Gay student says Baptist school denied readmission after he came out

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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HANNIBAL, Mo. — An honors-caliber college student says he was denied readmission to a northern Missouri Baptist school after he came out as gay in a Facebook post back in December.

Twenty-year-old Chase Martinson of suburban St. Louis spent his first two years at Hannibal-LaGrange University. He temporarily withdrew in October due to illness but hoped to return in the fall.

Chase Martinson

Chase Martinson

School documents show that Martinson was initially accepted back in January and offered a spot in the private college’s honors program, but a letter received last week from HLGU’s admissions office informs him that his application has been reconsidered and is now inactive.

That letter does not mention the words “gay” or homosexual,” but alludes to a school morals clause which forbids homosexuality as a “misuse of God’s gift.”

When he contacted the school, Martinson said he was told he received the letter “because I was outside the moral guidelines,” of the scool was referred to two specific pages in the student handbook (pages 20 and 27) which deal with sexual misconduct and homosexual acts.

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According to the school’s online handbook, “Hannibal-LaGrange University upholds the traditional biblical view that it is God’s intent that heterosexual union is the only acceptable expression of sexuality … Hannibal-LaGrange University is committed to providing faculty, staff and students with an environment free from explicit and implicit coercive sexual behaviors.”

“I know one student who became pregnant on campus and all they had to do was recommit their life to the Lord and they were able to continue their education,” he said in an interview Thursday. “It’s ridiculous. If they’re so firm upon their Christian views as biblically founded, they should be more accepting of everyone.”

Martinson says he plans to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to pursue a nursing degree.

Legal experts say the school’s religious affiliation allows for such exclusions.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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