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But while school officials say their first reaction is "not exclusion but to love," Kevin Campbell, a vice president there, said it's unclear if Title IX protects students on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Shane Windmeyer, a founder of the national advocacy group Campus Pride, said religious exemptions can be "a way to discriminate against a group of people." "Just because you say that your religious faith or your religious belief doesn't allow you to have an openly LGBT person on your campus, I don't care how you say it, is discrimination," he said.Though Abilene Christian’s policy goes further than some — banning same-sex dating, not just sex — they’re not the only faith-based institution that’s faced questions in recent years about how their policies fit into a changing social landscape.“Societal norms change and adjust,” said Phil Schubert, president of Abilene Christian, which enrolls about 5,000 students.But the school’s website has already been updated to say that certain student employees — those “asked to exemplify and support the university’s mission” — will be barred from dating people of the same sex, just like faculty and staff have been for years.
“Our goal here is not to place an undue restriction on students,” Schubert explained, “but we're recognizing that employees, we believe, are asked to do something different in terms of carrying out the mission of the institution and delivering the educational experience that we're offering." For students filling resident assistant roles, or others that are public-facing, it’s important that they “live a lifestyle that is consistent with the values that we espouse at Abilene Christian,” he said.
Our desire is for young adults to come into relationship with Christ and experience Godly community with others in the context of Groups and ministry opportunities.