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Gay Protest Group Allowed On Christian College Campus


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Gay Protest Group Allowed On Christian College Campus

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 16, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Cleveland, Tennessee) Members of the Soulforce Equality Ride were allowed on the campus of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee on Thursday but under strict conditions.

Lee is the third school to be targeted by the Equality Ride a 51 day cross-country trip organized by the nondenominational group Soulforce to draw attention to colleges and military academies that discriminate against LGBT students.

When the riders got off their bus on Thursday they were told that would be allowed onto the campus, unlike similar stops at Regent University in Virginia Beach and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where members of the group were arrested when they stepped onto school grounds.

But the riders were told they could not carry signs, hand out literature or hold a prayer rally while at Lee University

Jacob Reitan, one of the organizers of the Equality Ride immediately went to the office of Lee president Dr. Paul Conn.

"It was a cordial meeting," Reitan told 365Gay.com. "We had a long discussion, but it was obvious he was not going to change the rules.

Nevertheless, Reitan said, it was encouraging that Conn at least allowed the group on campus.

Riders engaged students in conversations about homosexuality and the Bible.

Among those who turned out to support the riders was Matthew James. He said he was kicked out of Lee University a year ago because he's gay.

“It's something I don't choose to be. There's the whole argument about you choose to be or you don't choose to be, and I don't choose to be ridiculed. I don't choose to be discriminated. I don't choose to be kicked out of a school," he said.

Lee University President Paul Conn said the school respects the right of this group to form their own conclusions about their lives and their sexuality, but he made it clear in a letter to the student body earlier this week that Lee University doesn't allow "homosexual conduct." (story)

Tuesday seven riders were arrested as they tried to enter Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (story)

Regent, which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson, says it does not bar gay enrolment, but its student handbook states "...homosexual conduct or any other conduct, which violates Biblical standards, is prohibited."

Last week Last week 24 members of the group were arrested when the entered Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

The Equality Ride will visit 18 schools on its 51 day journey across America including West Point and Brigham Young University.

©365Gay.com 2006


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