PASADENA, Calif. — A lesbian who was allegedly expelled from Fuller Theological Seminary after it was discovered that she was “married” to another woman has filed suit, accusing the educational institution of violating federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination.
Joanna Maxon, 53, of Fort Worth, Texas was reportedly working toward her Master of Arts in Theology degree when she received a letter advising that she would be dismissed from the school due to revelations that she had been in a sexual relationship that violated the school’s standards.
According to reports, when Maxon applied to Fuller Theological Seminary in 2015, she was still married to her husband. She later divorced and went on to enter a relationship with a woman. The following year, she “married” Tonya Minton.
As Maxon later applied for financial aid, submitting a copy of her 2016 tax returns, it was noticed that she was in a same-sex “marriage.” She was advised that an investigation was subsequently being conducted but that she could write a letter to seminary dean Marianne Meye Thompson in her own defense.
NBC News reports that Maxon told Thompson that she had made “a financial, emotional, and legal commitment to the person I love.”
In response, Thompson pointed to the school’s standards on sexuality, outlining, “Whenever violations of our sexual standards are brought to Fuller’s leadership’s attention, we address them as dictated by our policies and procedures.” She then dismissed Maxon from the seminary.
Fuller Theological Seminary prohibits “homosexual forms of explicit sexual conduct,” according to the Christian Post.
Maxon obtained legal representation, which unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate the matter. The woman consequently filed suit.
“[Fuller] discriminated against Mrs. Maxon based on her sexual orientation because it expelled Mrs. Maxon for entering into a civil same-sex marriage,” the lawsuit states, according to the New American. “Defendants also discriminated against Mrs. Maxon based on her sex and sexual orientation by subjecting her to stricter disciplinary action than Fuller would have subjected a male, heterosexual student.”
Maxon is seeking financial damages of $500K for “humiliation, emotional distress, and other damages.”
Fuller Theological Seminary has declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but notes that students are required to agree to the school’s moral and behavioral standards upon enrollment.
“As a historically multi-denominational seminary and a convening place for civil dialogue — with a commitment to academic freedom — we strive to serve the global Christian church in its various perspectives,” it said. “We remain committed to these relationships in all their complexities while maintaining community standards and a statement of faith that apply to various areas of beliefs and behavior.”
“Students are informed of and explicitly agree to abide by these standards when applying to the institution.”
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the exact same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature and are therefore “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law and will of God and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves (Job 14:4).
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and that they might be “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9) — taking out of the way for those who are saved both the penalty for, and the power of, sin.
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. This work of the Holy Spirit is known in Christianity as the doctrine of regeneration.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh,” Ezekiel 36:26-27 reads. “And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.”