Baylor has dropped language in its sexual conduct policy specifically outlawing sexual relationships between same-sex partners, although a spokesperson’s response to questions from the Waco Trib indicates that the university does not appear to be endorsing gay and lesbian couples or sex outside of marriage.
The university’s sexual misconduct policy previously listed “homosexual acts” among the sexually related conduct that could prompt disciplinary action, along with adultery, fornication, incest, sexual abuse, harassment and assault. But that clause is dropped under a new sexual conduct policy approved by Baylor’s Board of Regents at its last meeting and posted on the Baylor website. The university’s website, however, has not updated its Statement on Human Sexuality policy since March 2004.
A July 2, 2015, article in the Waco Trib outlined the changes, quoting an e-mail from Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogelman as saying “these changes were made because we didn’t believe the language reflected the university’s caring community. The university has a responsibility to articulate clearly and consistently Baylor’s commitment to its values as a Christian university.”
Fogleman deferred on what this means for married same-sex couples at Baylor in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling knocking down bans on same-sex marriages, referring instead to the application section on the policy, which states that it is to be “interpreted in a manner consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message of 1963,” the doctrine outlining the faith principles governing the Southern Baptist Convention.
Here’s how the language in the policy has changed:
Former sexual misconduct policy: In all disciplinary procedures, Baylor University will seek to be redemptive in the lives of the individuals involved and to witness to the high moral standards of the Christian faith. Baylor will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a gift from the creator God and that the purposes of this gift included (1) the procreation of human life and (2) the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond in self-giving love. These purposes are to be achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.
Revised sexual conduct policy: Baylor will be guided by the biblical understanding that human sexuality is a gift from God and that physical sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of marital fidelity. Thus, it is expected that Baylor students, faculty and staff will engage in behaviors consistent with this understanding of human sexuality.
Now it’s your turn. The independent voice that past Baylor leaders felt was so important and that some more recent Baylor leaders have fought so hard to silence allows — and expects — us to encourage honest and respectful discourse and dialogue on these kinds of issues. We are posting here and on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages to give members of the Baylor Family an outlet for expressing their views on this change and whether the university went too far or not far enough. We ask that you post in a responsible and respectful way, recognizing that everyone has different strongly-held views. Comments will be moderated and we will not post those that insult or demean others.