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A Concordia University student was asked to step down from a ministry post after the ministry president asked her to quit because she is bisexual and in a relationship with a woman, the Pioneer Press reports.

Nikki Hagan said she was asked to resign after she posted on Facebook about her relationship with a woman.

“He asked me if I knew what the stance of the (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) church is against homosexuality,” Hagan told the Pioneer Press.

The incident has caused uproar on campus. A petition has been launched, a crowdfunding campaign has been started, and a week of events are underway all with the goal of pressuring Concordia to take steps to end discrimination against LGBT students on campus. Concordia currently does not have a policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The school, unlike other conservative Christian schools, does not appear to have policies that expel LGBT students.

University president Tom Ries has expressed his measured support for LGBT nondiscrimiantion on campus, ac cording to the Pioneer Press:

“I think it’s an unfortunate situation for everybody involved,” Ries said Monday. “One individual made this decision asking Nikki to step down, and she agreed to do that. And I wish that hadn’t happened.”

Hagan wants sexual orientation included in the university’s nondiscrimination policy, which so far covers only “age, race, color, disability, gender, national and ethnic origin.”
Ries said he supports the idea, but he’s uncertain about the legal implications of such a move and said it would require the church’s input.
“I feel we don’t discriminate, but to the extent that we can (change the policy), I’d like to see that happen,” he said.
More immediately, Ries said he wants to establish a support group for LGBT students and their allies. Of the 10 Concordia campuses, only Portland, Ore., has such a group.
“Each time that I’ve tried to do that, it’s kind of come to a dead end” because of a lack of interest, he said. However, Ries said, this time could be different.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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