Did Belmont University Force Lesbian Soccer Coach Lisa Howe To Quit Because She’s Having a Baby?

Lisa Howe is the coach of Belmont University women’s soccer team in Nashville. Or at least she was, until she “resigned” last night after six seasons in an announcement that comes via an athletics department statement. Cue the controversy: Was she pushed out because she’s a lesbian and having a baby?

The Tennessean reports Athletics Director Mike Strickland says in a statement Howe decided to resign, but didn’t elaborate further. The only comment from Howe about her exit is this line: “I am at a point in my life where I am satisfied to move on.”

But “several members of the soccer team” insist Howe was pushed to resign after revealing she and her partner were having a baby. Among them is senior Erica Carter, who says Howe told her the department gave her the choice to resign or be terminated. It’s the only time Howe has ever really spoken about her personal life, says Carter, and came only after Howe repeatedly requested permission from Belmont officials to speak to the team about the pregnancy and thus reveal she’s a lesbian. [Ed: I’m sorry, but a coach needs permission to mention she’s having a baby?] Carter’s roommate Ashley Hudak confirms the account: “She said she needed to resign or she was going to be fired because of the choices she had made with her life. She said she had tried to clear telling us she was having a baby through the athletic department and they weren’t allowing her to.” Sari Lin, the team captain and a junior, says athletic director Strickland told her Howe was forced to resign for violating Belmont’s “shut up about your sexuality” rules. According to Lin, Strickland said “we have the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and when she told us about the pregnancy, it violated that. She was telling us what her sexual preference is. He said you can hide your sexuality, but you can’t hide a baby. He pretty much told me that once the baby was born she was going to get fired anyway, so it’s better to do it sooner than later.”

Now before your jaw hits the ground, remember this is the same “Christian values” Belmont University that’s repeatedly refused to let students form an official LGBT student group because it would be “divisive and problematic.” Which might explain why Belmont President Robert Fisher is dodging the issue, refusing the comment because it’s a matter for the athletics department. Uh, no.

And while Tennessee has no state law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to fire a woman because she’s having a baby. Which is what the school appears to have been intent on doing anyhow.

You can contact President Fisher at [email protected] and 615-460-6793. Strickland is all yours at [email protected] or 615-460-5547.

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  • ZJ

    Incredible. Christian conservatives love to prattle on about procreation as the most singularly important feature setting heterosexuals apart as a superior race of beings – as if only straight people are capable of having kids. And then when someone dares to reveal the utter hollowness of their prejudice, through that most basic act of bringing new life into the world… she’s fired for it. For having a baby. Which, apparently, is only okay if you’re straight.

    It’s a wide stance, all right – but this time they’ve cut off their own legs.

  • Second

    As a student attending Belmont, I appreciate our university’s attempt to provide its students with necessary education and enrichment to become productive and engaged citizens.

    An action such as this one, however, is a step in completely the wrong direction. There is absolutely no reason for this coach’s “resignation”, other than the clouded judgement of some university leaders who feel that one’s personal life is suddenly their business. I’m embarrassed to attend a university so intolerant of diversity and personality that divergent from fundamental Christian values. It’s shameful to assume that a woman’s sexuality is cause for termination–excuse me, forced ‘resignation’.

  • Second

    Pardon my typing, I meant to say (3rd from last line) “so intolerant of diversity and personality divergent from…”. Without the ‘that’.

  • Evan

    um…having a baby reveals that you’re a lesbian…how, exactly?

    Obviously I’m bothered by the whole sexuality-gag-order issue. But I’m also rather…confused…about how anyone could possibly think that anyone could infer that a woman was a lesbian because she’s pregnant.

  • Marcy Hodges

    Yes indeed. Only straights can have children together. The baby is NOT the coach’s. She will have to adopt the child for that to happen. The problem was the coach discussing her private life with the team. She had been coaching there for years with no problem. The discussion of her “partner” having a baby is what caused the issue. This is a Christian college and apparently did not believe this was proper for the school

  • alan brickman

    she’s a hero! where are the femmisnits on this?

  • Steve

    God’s gentle, loving people at work again…

  • Bill Ford

    The Belmont administration are a bunch of hypocrites. The school has well over a hundred of gay and lesbian students on campus but the administration won’t let them form a LGBT student group. Now they fire the soccer coach because she is a lesbian.

    Yet…..the administration doesn’t have any problem admitting these students or cashing their tuition checks. The coach should have had a lawyer in the meeting. The school pressured her into signing an agreement that she was resigning. If she hadn’t done that, the school would have had to find some kind of “for cause” reason for firing her. The tactics of the administration have effectively negated a federal discrimination lawsuit the coach could have had.

    The music industry in Nashville has thousands of gay/lesbian members in the community. I’d say the best way to let Belmont “see the light” is through the pocketbook. Boycott Belmont. The Audio Engineering Society and many, many other groups that rent event/exhibition/meeting space at Belmont should cancel or refuse to rebook for the coming years until Belmont realizes their error.

    Studios that get their free slave/interns from Belmont should immediately call the school and tell administrators that they will be getting their interns from MTSU and SAE in the future-until the policy at Belmont changes.

    It works both ways-if Belmont administration refuses to recognize and accept the gay community, those who DO recognize these individuals can (and should) refuse to recognize and support Belmont.

  • Michael

    She did resign. Now, let’s hear about the money behind the deal.

  • jason

    If the baby was conceived by intecourse, she’s either not a genuine lesbian or she’s a lesbian who, for reasons of selfishness, allowed a man to fuck her. If it’s the latter, she doesn’t deserve our sympathy. If it’s the former, the reference to her should be changed to “bisexual”.

  • drums

    @jason: Thank you, O Great White Male, for defining for the rest of us what a woman is, what a lesbian is, and who we’re allowed to feel empathy for! You are definitely the expert on selfish people who don’t deserve sympathy, being an exemplary model yourself. You also obviously don’t understand how you can be a homosexual and still have kids, which comes as a great relief since you won’t be reproducing yourself.

    Good luck to Lisa Howe. I hope she finds justice and acceptance at a different job, and if not at least she can take solace in having a growing family. The decision to force her to resign is small-minded, and the only good thing is that many young students seem to recognise the injustice because they’re speaking up.

  • justiceontherocks

    @ Drums: leave Jason alone. She knows everything. If you don’t think so just ask her.

    It doesn’t say anywhere in the recap that the coach herself was pregnant, suggesting it was her partner who was carrying. It was all too much for the religious fanatics to handle. Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that happens when you work for such people.

  • jason


    I’m sorry but I don’t have any respect for self-described lesbians who put out for men so that they can be fertilized. To me, that’s an arrangement that runs counter to self-dignity.

    Keep in mind that women can have a lesbian orientation but be bisexual in behavior. This paradox exists because women don’t have to be aroused in order to engage in sexual behavior that is typically female. A man, on the other hand, must become aroused (ie go from soft to hard) in order to engage in sexual behavior that is typically male.

  • Biff

    Jason, fertilization does not require a female to “put out.” There are many alternative ways where the donors don’t even meet each other. Just a thought.

  • $0.02

    @Number 5 Marcy, I have to correct what you wrote there sport, that child is both hers and her partner’s. Now go play.

    @Jason, you really ought to stick to what you know. Really…

  • Thinker

    I know this will arouse the anger of the orgy of gayness on this site, but really, it is not natural or acceptable for homosexuals to have children. For several reasons:

    1) It could never occur in nature.
    2) Semen does not fertilize anuses
    3) Having unrelated sperm implanted in the womb does NOT result in a child of the parents. They are adopted.
    4) The child will suffer from a lack of normal parental roles and thus, develop insufficiently.
    5) Have you ever talked to a child of gay parents? They’re not very functional.

    How to solve the gay dilemna? Take away their rights to be parents. It’s not organic, it’s not effective, furthermore; It is highly disturbing, unethical, and will result in the permanent addling of the gay-raised child’s brain.

  • DeeperThinker

    @Thinker. So, I suppose all infertile heterosexual couples should not be allowed to have children by alternative methods, either? I mean, after all, those alternative methods aren’t available in nature, either.
    If you’re willing to eliminate the option of IVF, surrogacy, adoption, etc., for heterosexual couples as well, then maybe I’d consider your arguments.

Comments are closed.