Prestigious American university Harvard has suspended a Christian student group that asked one of its leaders to step down after she started a lesbian relationship.
The group, Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA), informed the unnamed woman – an assistant Bible course leader – that her relationship went against the group’s character standards.
HCFA has now been placed on probation for a year – the first time this has been done to any student group.
Harvard claimed the group’s decision violated its guidelines stipulating that campus student groups cannot discriminate on the basis of ‘sexual orientation’.
Co-presidents of HCFA, Scott Ely and Molly L Richmond, released a statement about the controversy to explain that the group includes “sexual purity” in its character standards.
“Our theological view is that — for professing Christians who are in leadership — celibacy is the only option outside the bounds of marriage. We have applied and do apply this policy regardless of sexual orientation.”
In an email released by The Harvard Crimson student newspaper, the woman said that she and her partner felt “extremely at peace” about their relationship.
Whilst the group is under probation, it will be barred from student fairs, lose free access to meeting rooms, no longer be allowed to advertise on campus and lose some university funding.