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Nearly 3,000 sign petition to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people at Calvin University

Calvin University LGBTQ+ students.png
Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 18:23:22-04

Nearly 3,000 people have signed on to a movement to end what current and former LGBTQ+ students at Calvin University say is discrimination against them based on their sexuality or gender identity.

Today, organizers delivered that petition to the provost.

This comes after one Calvin University employee quit their job when they were told they could be fired for marrying a woman.

The employee's department within Calvin is now legally separating from the university. Once that process is complete, the university's policies dictated by the Christian Reform Church will no longer apply to the Center for Social Research.

Students say more work needs to be done.

Grace Swanson, a Calvin graduate, organized the petition. Grace says when she was a Calvin student, she faced discrimination for leadership opportunities on campus because of her relationship.

Swanson wanted to be a Resident Assistant, but couldn't because she was in a relationship with a woman.

Calvin University issued FOX 17 the following statement:

“We love our students, we love the church, and we love the university. We also understand that followers of Jesus have differing perspectives on the questions raised by this petition. Calvin University will continue to abide by the teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, listen in a spirit of grace and truth, and be a place where constructive disagreement and debate will take place.”

Students on campus Wednesday say they want more than constructive disagreement. They want change.

"This is something the administration has been hearing for a long time and has refused to budge on. A lot of that is because of the denomination….it…it gets muddy,” Swanson said.

But Calvin's connections with the Christian Reformed Church are largely the problem, according to Swanson.

This summer, the CRC will decide at it's first meeting to discuss church doctrine changes, called Synod, come June 2022.

Church leaders will review this report and decide the future for LGBTQ+ students at Calvin.

Swanson says she fears though the group's concerns were heard on Wednesday, she fears for the future safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students at Calvin.