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Woman sues prominent Christian seminary after she was expelled for marrying another woman

'I was a really good student'


iStock / Getty Images Plus/Manuel-F-O

The progressive culture says marriage is an institution between two consenting adults, no matter their gender. But Christian culture has yet to capitulate, continuing to abide by the biblical vision for marriage being between one man and one woman.

Now, a Texas woman who was set to graduate from Fuller Theological Seminary is suing the school for discrimination after they expelled her last year for marrying another woman.

The plaintiff — Joanna Maxon of Fort Worth, Texas — was nearing the completion of her masters of arts degree in theology at the California-based seminary when she received a letter in the mail notifying her that she had been expelled from the school for violating the school's sexual standards.

"I was approaching the end and looking forward to graduation and all that stuff," the 53-year-old woman told NBC News. "To have that taken away unexpectedly — I was a really good student — I was devastated by it."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Maxon filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Los Angeles federal court alleging Fuller "violated Title IX rules that forbid educational institutions from discriminating against students on the basis of sex."

More from the LA Times:

Paul Southwick, Maxon's attorney, alleges the school also violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act and is seeking compensation of at least $500,000 to cover attorney fees and Maxon's federally funded student loans, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in a U.S. District Court in Central California.

Southwick said that because Fuller accepted federal aid and had not received a religious exemption, it must adhere to federal laws, including Title IX.

Maxon began attending online classes at Fuller in 2015 when she was single. She married her wife, Tonya Minton, in 2016. School administrators learned of her same-sex marriage last year through Maxon's 2016 tax return, which the school accessed for financial aid purposes.

After she was informed that the school was investigating her, Maxon wrote to School of Theology Dean Marianne Meye Thompson in defense of her marriage. However, last October, Thompson responded and informed Maxon of her immediate expulsion for "violations of our sexual standards."

"A publicly funded institution should not be allowed to suddenly expel a student because of her same-sex marriage, especially one who has invested over three years of time and money completing her degree," Southwick told Bloomberg Law.

In response to the lawsuit, Fuller released a statement saying all of its students agree to comply with a statement of faith and community standards when applying to the school. Those standards, of course, reflect biblical values.

"As a historically multi-denominational seminary and a convening place for civil dialogue—with a commitment to academic freedom—we strive to serve the global Christian church in its various perspectives. We remain committed to these relationships in all their complexities while maintaining community standards and a statement of faith that apply to various areas of beliefs and behavior. Students are informed of and explicitly agree to abide by these standards when applying to the institution," the school said.

One last thing…
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