Ex-university official loses firing appeal over anti-gay op-ed

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A former University of Toledo administrator has lost an appeal over her firing for an opinion piece she wrote that a court said implied that gay people don’t deserve the same rights as black people.

A three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that dismissed a lawsuit filed by Crystal Dixon against the university and its leaders.

In her lawsuit, Dixon argued that her firing over the April 2008 op-ed in the Toledo Free Press that she wrote was a violation of her free speech rights, because she wrote it as a private citizen, not on behalf of the university.

The panel rejected that argument, saying that her public comments went against the very policies that the university wanted her to create and enforce as the associate vice president for human resources, and that the speech wasn’t protected.

In the op-ed, Dixon wrote that as a black woman, she takes “great umbrage” at comparisons between gay rights and civil rights because gay people can choose a different lifestyle, while black people cannot change their skin color.

Dixon also argued to the university that she had hired at least two employees that were widely perceived to be gay.

The appeals panel wrote that Dixon’s op-ed showed that she does not think LGBT students and employees at the university are entitled to civil-rights protections, even though the university expressly provides them.