A former Hannibal-LaGrange University student says that he was rejected from college after coming out as gay on Facebook in December.
Chase Martinson, a 20-year-old from St. Louis, withdrew from HLGU due to illness in October and later re-applied for admission. He was admitted in January to re-enroll this fall, but he received a letter earlier this month from the Office of Admissions stating that his application was under consideration and in a state of inactivity. Although no particular reason for the change was specified, the letter referred him to two pages in the student handbook that layout the school's moral guidelines.
“I asked to speak to the man who wrote me the letter," Martinson tells KHQA, a news station for the Tri-State area of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. "He said that I had received it because I was outside the moral guidelines, and in the letter, it said two specific pages in the student handbook, pages 20 and 27, which deal with sexual misconduct, premarital sex acts, extramarital sex, homosexual acts.
"I was told I couldn't come back unless I petitioned to the president or I wrote a statement that I would adhere to the moral guidelines and basically not be gay anymore."
Martinson believes that a Facebook post he made in December, in which he came out as gay, is the reason for the turnover of his re-admission.
Following the letter, Martinson has decided not to return to HLGU, where he would've been a junior, and will instead attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to pursue a nursing degree. He does not regret his decision to open up about his sexual orientation.
“I would just like them to know that it doesn't matter what you do, who you are. If they're trying to send out a Christian message, they shouldn't be pushing away people that they deem as sinners,” he says. “They should be accepting of everyone, and they shouldn't be discriminating on this sin, that sin. Everyone sins.”
Marcia McCormick, a constitutional law professor at Saint Louis University, tells the Associated Press that because the school is private and has a religious affiliation, exclusions based on sexual orientation are permitted. She adds that students who believe a private school is discriminating against them because of sexual orientation have little to no legal protection.