Albequerque, New Mexico — Two homosexual men are suing a Christian school in New Mexico for refusing to accept their three-year-old to preschool.
Joseph Romero and John Keelin state that they were originally told by Hope Christian School in Albequerque that the boy could be admitted to class, but received a denial letter after officials discovered that the boy’s parents were both men.
“Same gender couples are inconsistent with [a] Scriptural lifestyle and Biblical teachings,” the letter stated, citing Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. “[Your] home life doesn’t reflect the school’s belief of what a Biblical family lifestyle is.”
It also outlined that the arrangement would be a difficult educational relationship, as the two entities would be directly at odds, pointing to Amos 3:3, which states, “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?”
When Romero and Keelin inquired further, the school corresponded with the attorney for the two men, reiterating that homosexuality is inconsistent with the beliefs and values of the Christian school, and that being a private institution, it has the right to be free from government interference.
Hope Christian School’s website outlines that “[a]dmission is open to students of any race, color, or ethnic origin who are looking for a Christian environment with an emphasis on teaching Biblical principles and truths along with strong academics.”
The two homosexual men have now filed a lawsuit in Bernalillo County Court, claiming that Hope Christian School has violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act by refusing admission to the boy. New Mexico law prohibits “any person in a public accommodation to make a distinction, directly or indirectly, in offering or refusing to offer its services … to any person because of … sexual orientation.”
Some are also stating that although the school asserted that it is a private religious institution, it should still be required to admit the child because it receives partial federal funding.
Romero and Keelin, through their attorney Shane Youtz of Youtz and Valdex, are seeking equitable relief, including that the judge will require that the boy be accepted at the Christian school, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
Attorneys for Hope Christian School have not yet commented on the matter.
As previously reported, in June of this year, a New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled against a Christian photographer in the state, declaring that the woman must shoot homosexual ceremonies despite her Christian beliefs.
Elane Hugenin and her husband Jon, who run Elane Photography in Albuquerque — the same city as Hope Christian School — first came under fire in 2006 when Elane told a lesbian woman that she could not photograph her commitment ceremony. The situation soon ended up before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, who ruled against Hugenin in 2008, stating that she was guilty of violating the state’s sexual orientation discrimination law. The commission then ordered the photographer to pay nearly $7,000 in fines for refusing to shoot the ceremony.
Hugenin then appealed the decision, arguing that forcing her to go against her beliefs regarding homosexuality would be like forcing African Americans to photograph Klu Klux Klan members. The Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict, however.
“The owners of Elane Photography must accept the reasonable regulations and restrictions imposed upon the conduct of their commercial enterprise despite their personal religious beliefs that may conflict with these government interests,” Judge Tim Garcia wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. “The Klu-Klux-Klan is not a protected class. Sexual orientation, however, is protected.”
Last month, the Kentucky Human Rights Commission likewise ruled against the t-shirt company Hands On Originals after it refused to screen t-shirts for a homosexual pride parade put on by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO).
“I want the truth to come out — it’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, ‘No Gays Allowed,’” said owner Blaine Adamson. “We’ll work with anybody. But if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.”
However, the Commission said that the business could not refuse homosexuals regardless, and ordered Adamson to pay an unspecified amount in damages.
“The investigation reveals that although respondent states that they have not denied business to one customer based on their sexual orientation, [it] does not eliminate the fact that they denied GLSO business based on their sexual orientation,” it wrote in its Charge of Discrimination.
Hope Christian School is being represented by attorneys from Roanoke, Virginia. According to the school’s website, the institution has been “commended as one of the largest and overall best Christian schools in the USA.”
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