Christian Minard, 22: Student expelled from Southwestern Christian University after gay marriage

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A woman said Monday that she was expelled from a private, Christian college in suburban Oklahoma City because she married her same-sex partner.

Christian Minard, 22, said she received a letter last week from Southwestern Christian University notifying her of the expulsion after returning from her honeymoon in Las Vegas. Minard said she did not know how the university learned of her March 17 marriage in Albuquerque, New Mexico, though she did say she posted her marriage license on Facebook.

"I'm not friends with anyone from my university. And there have been pictures of us because we've been in relationship for 3 1/2 years, and no one ever said word," Minard said.

University Academic Vice President and Provost Connie Sjoberg said Minard had been a student at the school in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany but no longer was. She said federal privacy laws kept her from providing details.

"We are limited in what we can discuss," Sjoberg said. "We would definitely love to address that (reason for expulsion), but we need permission from the individual to speak in depth."

Minard admitted that she violated her signed student conduct code, known as a lifestyle principal, which prohibits homosexual relationships. The code also includes prohibitions on smoking, drinking, cheating, premarital sex, discrimination, harassment and profanity.

"I do acknowledge to breaking that covenant," Minard said, but she said other students break the code without facing consequences.

Sjoberg referred questions about student code violations to the student handbook, which includes the lifestyle covenant.

"We definitely are open to discussing (with students) any situation that we have here at the university," Sjoberg said. "We are committed to our founding principles and our lifestyle covenant"

The Christian liberal arts university was founded in 1946 by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church as Southwestern Bible College. It became Southwestern College of Christian Ministries in 1981 and Southwestern Christian University in 2001.

Minard said she plans to transfer to a public college in an effort to complete her degree in sports management and hopes to eventually work as strength and conditioning coach.

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