Cincinnati, Ohio — A Christian woman that was fired from her job at the University of Toledo for expressing her views about homosexual behavior is continuing her fight after a federal court recently threw out her case, claiming that sexual diversity trumps religious rights.
Crystal Dixon states that in 2008, she saw an opinion piece in the Toledo Free Press that equated homosexuality with the black civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Being black herself, and disagreeing with the comparison, Dixon decided to compose a reply to the op-ed, explaining her views on the topic.
“I respectfully submit a different perspective for [the author of the original op-ed] and Toledo Free Press readers to consider,” she wrote in the piece, which was published on April 18, 2008. “I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are civil rights victims.”
“I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman,” she continued. “I am genetically and biologically a black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. 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.”
Less than a month later, on May 12, 2008, Dixon received a letter from University of Toledo President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, notifying her that her employment had been terminated effective immediately for “the public position you have taken in the Toledo Free Press.”
However, according to reports, Jacobs also submitted a letter to the newspaper, chastising Dixon for her beliefs.
“It is necessary… for me to repudiate much of her writing,” Jacobs wrote. “[Crystal Dixon’s] comments do not accord with the values of the University of Toledo. … We will be taking certain internal actions in this instance to more fully align our utterances and actions with this value system.”
After being fired, Dixon filed a federal lawsuit, stating that her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated by Jacobs and the University of Toledo.
However, the district court sided with the university instead of Dixon, and upon appealing to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Dixon was again told that diversity is of more importance that her religious rights.
This past week, Dixon’s attorneys at the American Freedom Law Center, a Judeo-Christian law firm headquarted in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed an appeal in the Sixth Circuit, seeking a full re-hearing of the matter, called an en banc review.
“Here, plaintiff was fired because her personal religious beliefs did not comport with the university’s ‘diversity’ values. In fact, plaintiff’s speech was in response to a published editorial – it was not in response to anything her employer did or did not do,” the petition stated. “As defendants acknowledged in their brief, the only part of plaintiff’s speech that remotely touched upon university policies ‘was arguably supportive of the university.’”
“There is no dispute that plaintiff was speaking on a matter of public concern and was thus terminated as a result of her speech. And there is no reasonable dispute that when plaintiff was writing her opinion piece on her personal computer from her home on a Sunday, she was not speaking pursuant to her official duties with the university, but as a private citizen,” the organization continued. “It is well settled that ‘a state cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes the employee’s constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression.'”
The court will decide in the days and weeks ahead whether or not it will agree to rehear the case. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
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