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Linda Ozmun: College Theater Professor Refuses to See Gay Productions, Sues

Religious beliefs bar her from seeing gay material, she says.EXPAND
Religious beliefs bar her from seeing gay material, she says.

A former theater and dance professor at Beaumont's Lamar University is suing the school, saying her tenure track was derailed because she refused to attend productions about the "homosexual lifestyle."

Linda Ozmun says her religious beliefs would not allow her to see what the suit calls "an 'artist' named Tim Miller" who "is an openly homosexual man who advocates for normalizing homosexuality and homosexual marriage."

Miller was scheduled to appear at Lamar in 2010 for what the suit describes as "a one-man show...about his homosexual lifestyle using obscene language and sexual gestures."

(Miller has aroused controversy but also earned praise: The New York Times in a review said he was "a charming and wildly energetic storyteller" and our sister paper the Village Voice said he "has a gift for letting one topic open surprising doors onto a multitude of others; his works are as canny and complex as they are charming.")

The suit says Miller's 2010 performance was canceled because of "complaints from the community."

As a result, Lamar students organized a show called Coming Out Collective, which the suit says was "billed as a celebration of homosexuality."

She refused to attend the production; the department chair subsequently gave her an "unacceptable" grade at her annual evaluation. She says she filed a grievance that was ignored.

Then Miller came back to Lamar to perform a show called Glory Box and Ozmun again refused to attend. She says she was threatened with disciplinary action.

Ozmun, who taught at Lamar for four years, is no longer at the school, and is suing for lost wages, damages and reinstatement with a clean record.


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