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BYU Prof. Let Go for Gay Marriage Stance

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 14, 2006; 1:41 AM

PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young University has decided not to rehire a part-time instructor because he publicly opposed the Mormon church's stand against marriage for same-sex couples.

Jeffrey Nielsen, a philosophy instructor at the church-owned university, said in an op-ed piece for the June 4 edition of The Salt Lake Tribune, "I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral."

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have spent millions of dollars campaigning against gay marriage and on May 28 called on members to support a constitutional amendment banning it.

Nielsen, a Mormon, said he learned of the school's decision regarding his employment in a June 8 letter from Daniel Graham, chairman of the Department of Philosophy.

"Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over," the letter said.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins confirmed that Graham decided not to rehire Nielsen because of the op-ed piece.

Nielsen said he is sticking by his views _ and his religion.

"I have no desire to be anything but a member of the church," he said Tuesday.

© 2007 The Associated Press