A gay pastor and his husband have been told their children will not be admitted to a Christian school in Nashville because of the family's "unacceptable" lifestyle.
Pastor Greg Bullard of the Covenant of the Cross Church in Madison has two young children – Micah and Esther – with his husband, Brian Copeland, whom he wed in 2013.
Copeland was scheduled to go on a tour of the Davidson Academy, a non-denominational Christian private school, but the visit was cancelled after officials discovered that the children are being raised by two fathers. The family had not yet applied for admission.
A letter to Copeland from the school said that though the academy is not sponsored by or affiliated with any specific church or denomination, it was "founded by Christians and operates in the Christian tradition based upon clear tenets of faith and practice".
Families are required to subscribe to the school's Handbook for Students and Parents, the letter continues, in which there is a Statement of Faith.
"The first point of the Statement is as follows: We believe God has revealed himself, His purposes, and His ways in the Bible, which is therefore absolute in its truth and authority over daily living.
"The practical application of this principle extends to the lifestyle conduct of those who are part of the school."
The letter also points to a section on Admission Policy in the Handbook, which says homosexuality is "in opposition to the mission" of the school.
According to the Handbook, "any lifestyle conduct...which impedes the school's credibility with its constituency or the general public is unacceptable. One example of such lifestyle is homosexuality."
"Just as your believe strongly in affirming all persons who worship at your church, we believe strongly in a strict interpretation of the Scriptures regarding the institution of marriage. I believe another education provider would be a better fit for your children," the letter concludes.
Copeland shared the letter on Facebook, writing that he did so to "let my friends know that discrimination affects people you know and love and still hurts no matter how many times you go through it."
He told The Tennessean that he and Bullard do not want to "harm the school" but want to show highlight inequality. The couple are not victims, he added, and do not wish to restrict anyone's religious beliefs.
"I want to make that very clear," Copeland said. "We want our children to have a Christian education, and we're finding that very, very hard."
The Davidson Academy has yet to comment.