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When Ryan Clements, a 25-year-old alumnus of Abilene Christian University, found out his alma mater was planning to ban some students’ same-sex dating relationships, he said it “hit home in a big way.” Clements, an openly gay Christian, said he felt pained “that a school that I loved and that gave me so much and that I tried to pour myself into when I was there would take this kind of action against students like me.” The private college in West Texas, affiliated with Churches of Christ, said earlier this month it would bar student employees from dating people of the same sex.The policy already applies to faculty and staff at Abilene Christian.
“We were not sitting in those meetings with the senior leadership team, so we're not just going to assume what their intentions are,” he said.
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But LGBT-rights advocates and some students say the ban still amounts to discrimination.
Shane Windmeyer, a founder of the national advocacy group Campus Pride, said religious exemptions can be "a way to discriminate against a group of people." "Just because you say that your religious faith or your religious belief doesn't allow you to have an openly LGBT person on your campus, I don't care how you say it, is discrimination," he said.