More influential community members are weighing in on the ongoing controversy over the dismissal of a soccer coach at Belmont University.
At-Large Metro councilwoman Megan Barry, who sponsored the city ordinance that protects city workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, issued a statement Wednesday condemning Belmont for its dismissal of gay women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe after she revealed to her team last week that she and her partner are expecting a child.
“[It] reminds us that discrimination based on sexual orientation continues to be a source of injustice in our community,” Barry said in the statement.
The councilwoman — who lives near the university — said she looks forward to the day “when Nashville joins the many dozens of cities and counties across the nation including Louisville, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Atlanta, that have written sexual orientation into local discrimination laws.”
In addition, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc., released a strongly worded statement addressed to the university’s board of trustees.
“We firmly believe Belmont’s apparent actions are discriminatory and harmful to our neighborhood, the Belmont University community, and the city of Nashville,” reads the statement, signed by steering committee president Lindsey Trella Moffatt. “Consequently, we request the Board reconsider its previous actions and public statements and move to adopt a broad nondiscrimination policy to ensure all members of the Belmont community are treated fairly and with respect.”
In its statement, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc., notes its members have been “proud to call Belmont University a neighbor, a partner, and a friend in our community.”
“This community includes all neighbors, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status,” the statement reads. “When there is discrimination against one of us, we all suffer. It is with heavy hearts that we say we have not been proud of Belmont University in recent days.”
The statements come a day after Mike Curb, a major donor to Belmont and trustee emeritus, lambasted university officials in a public statement.