Belmont students protest in support of gay soccer coach - WKRN News 2

Belmont students protest in support of gay soccer coach

Lisa Howe, Courtesy: Lisa Howe, Courtesy:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dozens of students at Belmont University in Nashville attended a protest Sunday afternoon in support of former women's soccer coach Lisa Howe.

Howe's departure from the Christian based university comes after she told school administrators and the team she and her same-sex partner were having a baby.

The university said last week that Howe did not resign from her employment nor was she dismissed but rather the two mutually agreed to part ways.

"Although I love this school, I sincerely disagree with the practice of firing someone because of who they happen to love," sophomore Dorian McQuaid said, adding, "As a student of the school, it makes me feel unwelcomed. I am a member of an underground gay-straight alliance and I feel that they are basically in danger. Now they've said it, they're anti-gay."

Erica Carter is a former soccer player of Howe's and came out Sunday afternoon in support of her former coach.

"She's awesome, she's a great person, she held us to a really high standard," Carter said, adding, "I hope they see that it's affecting more than just the soccer players and that this is a bigger issue, it should be addressed on many higher levels."

Belmont alumni Guy Farmer showed his support for Howe by attending the first of several student protests.

"What I wanted to do with this is just show support to the coach and her players," Farmer told News 2.

Farmer also began a protest on the popular social network Facebook.

"For somebody to come to Belmont University as a freshman and one of the first things [that happened is] a coach gets fired for being a lesbian. I have to stand up for that," Farmer said, adding, "You can't change the world, but you can change your community and we're out there to change our community the best we can."

Students have other demonstrations planned beginning Monday.  Another protest is scheduled for Wednesday where supporters plan to write letters to political officials.

An online petition in support of Howe has also been set up. Hundreds of supporters of the former Belmont soccer coach have already signed the petition.

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