LGBT groups: Don't add BYU to Big 12 Conference - FOX34 Lubbock

LGBT groups: Don't add BYU to Big 12 Conference

LUBBOCK, Texas -

Several national LGBT advocacy groups have sent a letter to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, asking him not to allow Brigham Young University to join the conference.

The 25 groups say BYU is "inconsistent with Big 12 Conference membership values."

The letter, initially written by the group Athlete Ally, states, "BYU... actively and openly discriminates against its LGBT students and staff. It provides no protections for LGBT students. In fact, through its policies, BYU is very clear about its intent to discriminate against openly LGBT students."

In a statement to FOX34, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said, "BYU welcomes as full members of the university community all whose conduct meets university standards. We are very clear and open about our honor code, which all students understand and commit to when they apply for admission. One's stated sexual orientation is not an issue."

The Honor Code, however, states, "Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings."

Meanwhile, the letter to Commissioner Bowlsby also states that "LGBT coaches, players and fans who attend and/or compete at any Big 12 events hosted at BYU would be subject to discrimination since BYU remains exempt from Utah's LGBT nondiscrimination law."

BYU's Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe countered that on Twitter, saying, "LGBT players, coaches and fans are always welcome to the BYU campus. Everyone should be treated with respect, dignity and love."

FOX34 reached out to Texas Tech for comment. Spokesman Chris Cook said the university doesn't have a personal opinion on the matter, and it would be best handled at the conference level.

Multiple calls to the Big 12 Conference were not returned.

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