Tuesday, 17 September 2019

BYU-Idaho Instructor Says She Was Fired After Supporting LGBTQ Rights


An adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho claims she was dismissed from her job after posting a Facebook status in support of the LGBTQ community. 

Ruthie Robertson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS, described herself as a “huge leftist living in a completely red state” and has taught at Brigham Young since graduating from the university in 2016. She told The Washington Post she knew her June 5 status would conflict with the views of her employer. The private college is affiliated with the LDS church, and a reported 99 percent of the student population are practicing members of the Mormon faith.

“This is my official announcement and declaration that I believe heterosexuality and homosexuality are both natural and neither is sinful,” Robertson, 22, wrote in the post, which can be viewed in full here. “I will never support the phrase ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ because that ‘sin’ is part of who that person is. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not sins; if God made us, and those are part of who we are... then God created that as well.”

The Virginia native, who does not identify as LGBTQ, told The Washington Post that two of her Facebook friends, whom she did not name, reported the post to her department head as well as the school’s president. She said she was not friends any of her current students on Facebook, and kept the post set to private. 

Just hours later, Robertson said university administrators asked to meet with her, and told her she had to take down the post if she wanted to keep her job. She refused, and within a week, she said she was told her contract would be terminated after she taught her last class of the term July 11. 

“I wasn’t going to take it back. I couldn’t take it back,” she told local ABC affiliate KIFI/KIDK. “I wanted the church and I wanted the school, those organizations, to realize the harmful things that are inside the culture and inside the society, to help my students be the ones to create change.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has publicly opposed same-sex marriage, though members have moved away from the church’s previously exclusionary rhetoric toward the LGBTQ community in recent years. 

HuffPost has reached out to Brigham Young University-Idaho and is awaiting comment. However, spokesman Brett Crandall told The Post Register said the university had a “long-standing policy of not commenting on personnel matters.”

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