The current code states that sexuality is a gift from God and “misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include but not limit to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts.”
The Sexual Misconduct Code Non-Discrimination Act removed “homosexual acts” from the code and replaced it with the phrase “non-marital consensual deviate sexual intercourse.” Further action is required by the Baylor University Board of Regents before the change can be made.
While the code also states that sexuality is “achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage,” students who supported the act said it was intended to remove discriminatory language and make gays feel more welcome on campus, the university’s student paper, Baylor Lariat, reports.
As a Christian university, Baylor’s doctrine has always and still states that homosexuality is wrong for Biblical reasons, and the bill wouldn’t change the formal views of the administration. Baylor has made Princeton Review’s “most gay-unfriendly” list for years.
But senior Kimani Mitchell told the student paper that the change in wording wouldn’t target gays anymore.
“We are simply clarifying language here,” Mitchell said. “In our world we don’t always take words semantically. They are taken with a pragmatic view, which is the connotation associated with the view. This word is discriminating. Discrimination contextually and culturally is a bad thing.”
Senior Grant Senter said the change would show acceptance by the school’s student body, even if mindsets haven’t changed.
“This is not just about a technical change,” Senter said. “This is about the entire picture of the university and what it means to be a homosexual on campus. Are you protected? Do we care for you? Do we reach out to you with Christ’s love? At this point no. What I think this bill does is take a step towards a more caring, Jesus loving community.”
Earlier this year, Baylor senior Susan Duty helped the city of Waco, where Baylor is located, add sexual orientation and gender identity to its Equal Employment Opportunity policy for city employees.