Pro-family groups and first amendment supporters have reacted with outcry to the dismissal of a faculty member of the University of Toledo who questioned whether homosexuality is a civil rights issue.
"She was speaking as a private citizen when she wrote her column and, clearly, our Constitution protects speech, and there shouldn't be a consequence to that free speech as far as discriminating against somebody based on their speech and the content of that speech," Brian Rooney, spokesman for the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian legal group, said, according to Cybercast News Service.
Crystal Dixon, associate vice president of human resources, drew criticism when she expressed opposition to an editorial that compared the efforts to legalize same-sex "marriage" as equal to the struggle for racial equality among African Americans.
"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. Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman," she wrote in a column in the local Toledo Free Press.
"Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few," she added.
After the column's appearance, Dixon was promptly suspended last month, and now, in the most recent development, fired from her position by faculty for what they described as values that "do not accord" with the University of Toledo.
Rooney of the Thomas More Law Center said that they would definitely challenge the university on legal grounds for what they said was a clear case of "viewpoint discrimination."
In an email supportive of Dixon, the conservative Family Research Council (FRC) said Dixon's termination from the university was yet another instance of double standards and prejudice against Christians.
"As a private citizen, Dixon was well within her rights to voice her opinion on social issues regardless of how those views may be perceived by the University," the FRC said. "Despite what UT believes, Christians have just as much right to air their opinions as liberal secularists. And when they do, the U.S. Constitution is there to ensure that they are fully protected."
Another conservative, Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, commented, "Just because many Christians have a viewpoint that is unpopular in leftist circles, does not mean those leftists have a right to violate the law and discriminate against Christians," according to Cybercast News Service.