Hannibal-LaGrange denies openly gay student's re-admittance

Mar 25, 2014

Chase Martinson
Credit Chase Martinson

A Hannibal-LaGrange University student has been refused re-admittance after coming out as gay on Facebook.

Twenty-year-old Chase Martinson was studying nursing at the private Baptist college before temporarily withdrawing in October last year for health reasons.

Martinson was originally invited to study at Hannibal-LaGrange on a volleyball scholarship and had been offered a place in the college’s honors program this March.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Martinson’s application to recommence study this fall was accepted in January before being recently revoked.

He made the announcement on his Facebook page in December last year.

The post read:

I'm gay. Just so everyone knows for sure. It's official. And yes, I'll still see you guys in heaven. And no my status wasn't hacked.

Martinson said he never thought coming out would affect his place at the university.

“I’d think that there would just be some, like, general judgment issues or whatever but I didn’t think they wouldn’t let me come back,” he said. “Initially I was pretty, like, mad about the whole situation. I mean it’s just ridiculous. But at this point it’s more just, I just feel sad for the whole thing, the school and other people that this might happen to.”

John Morthland is the attorney at Hannibal-LaGrange University. He said that without a written waiver from Martinson, the law did not allow him to comment.

“We really are prohibited to say anything in this regard,” he said.

A letter from Hannibal-LaGrange dated March 4 referred Martinson to a section of the college’s student handbook. It states that the university upholds a traditional view that it is God’s intent that heterosexual union is the only acceptable expression of sexuality.

The following is an excerpt:

All members of the University community should abstain from behavior which may lead to a violation of God’s standards on sexual activities. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, homosexual actions, incest, adultery, fornication, and sex outside of marriage as defined by the State of Missouri is prohibited.

Martinson now plans to attend the University of Missouri-St Louis.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications at the University Bob Samples says their program will ensure Martinson receives a first-rate nursing education.

“The University of Missouri-St Louis is a very welcoming environment for people from various backgrounds,” he says. “We promote diversity and inclusion.”