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SCOTUS declines appeal by Christian university administrator fired for homosexuality column

John Jalsevac
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TOLEDO, OH, October 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Crystal Dixon has run out of options.

Dixon, the former associate vice president of human resources at the University of Toledo (UT), sued her former employer in 2008 after she was fired for publishing a column expressing her opinions on homosexuality.

In February 2012, a federal judge ruled against Dixon. Later that year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concurred with the lower court. Now, this week, the United States Supreme Court has declined to hear Dixon’s appeal.

In her column, published in The Toledo Free Press, Dixon, who is black, had expressed her disagreement with comparisons made between the gay rights and black civil rights movements in a previous column by the editor of the publication. 

“As a black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo’s Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are ‘civil rights victims,’” wrote Dixon.

She went on to write about how many people have found happiness by leaving the gay lifestyle. “Jesus Christ loves the sinner but hates the sin (John 8:1-11.),” she concluded. “Daily, Jesus Christ is radically transforming the lives of both straight and gay folks and bringing them into a life of wholeness: spiritually, psychologically, physically, and even economically. That is the ultimate right.”

The university deemed these statements beyond the pale. In a subsequent Toledo Free Press column, UT President Lloyd Jacobs wrote that Dixon’s views "do not accord with the values of the University of Toledo."

Jacobs said he wrote his column to "repudiate much of [Dixon’s] writing."  He went on to cite his support, on behalf of UT, for two pieces of legislation developed to "extend to domestic partners a number of rights and privileges." The president also noted his support for a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning group on campus. 

During a hearing into her case at the university in May 2008, Dixon defend the beliefs expressed in her column, and discounted allegations that those beliefs rendered her unfit to serve in her position.

“If the university is taking the Herculean leap to assume that my convictions affect my service to or decisions about those practicing homosexuality, please consider this,” she pleaded, “it is commonly believed/perceived that there are one, possibly two practicing homosexuals in the Human Resources Department. I hired both of them (one last year and one earlier this year)! I hired both of them with the perception that while they may be homosexual, more importantly they were competent, motivated, and simply the best candidates for the jobs.” 

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But in a letter several days later, President Jacobs terminated Dixon from her position, saying that the position she took in her column “is in direct contradiction to university policies and procedures as well as the Core Values of the Strategic Plan which is mission critical.” 

In its decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, had agreed with Jacobs, arguing that Dixon’s opinions on homosexuality directly impacted her ability to carry out the university’s policies. "Dixon's public statement implying that LGBT individuals should not be compared with and afforded the same protections as African-Americans directly contradicts several such substantive policies instituted by the university," wrote the court.

Dixon’s column was penned in response to an op-ed by Michael Miller, the editor-in-chief of The Toledo Free Press. Miller himself expressed displeasure over Dixon’s punishment. 

"The university operates in an atmosphere of idea exchange, and while I recognize the institution’s desire to distance itself from her, this is a basic free speech issue and I am disappointed she has been punished for expressing her views," he said.

Dixon was represented to the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC). A phone call to TMLC was not returned by press time. 

“The University of Toledo has displayed a double standard that trashes the right to free speech," Thomas More Law Center President, Richard Thompson, had said when initially announcing that the group was representing Dixon. "UT’s President encourages those who support the radical homosexual agenda to speak out, but punishes Christians who oppose the agenda.”

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