LGBT Groups Urge Big 12 Not To Add BYU
A group of 25 LGBT groups have sent a letter to the Big 12 urging the conference not to admit BYU as a new member. FOX Sports and Stewart Mandel have the scoop.
Athlete Ally, a group that conducts LGBT awareness campaigns for sports leagues, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, sent a letter to Big 12 administrators pointing out the discriminatory practices of BYU. The university is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is a religious institution.
The letter from the anti-discrimination groups to commissioner Bob Bowlsby says, in part:
"BYU…actively and openly discriminates against its LGBT students and staff. It provides no protections for LGBT students…Given BYU’s homophobic, biphobic and transphobic policies and practices, BYU should not be rewarded with Big 12 membership."
As Mandel points out, the letter is co-signed by 23 other advocacy groups.
BYU’s honor code — which students are expected to adhere to — includes a section addressing “Homosexual Behavior.” It claims that any homosexual behavior violates the honor code, including “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” Any BYU student who violates the Honor Code can be suspended or expelled.
The Big 12’s own handbook has a section on diversity, that says each member institution must refrain from discrimination. A Big 12 spokesperson told Mandel on Monday that the policy does apply to LGBT members.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how BYU and the Big 12 respond.