According to a newly filed complaint, the New Mexico State University preferred Camille LeVieux to Camille LeNoir. The “new” LeNoir turned out to be a straight, Christian women’s basketball coach. The university appears to have had the older LeNoir in mind when they hired her. LeNoir once as star at the University of Southern California who was drafted by the Washington Mystics and played professionally overseas. She was also an open lesbian. LeNoir would seem an ideal choice except that she spoke openly about being heterosexual and now opposing homosexuality as a sin. Her offer was later rescinded by the New Mexico State University and the hiring coach allegedly told her it was about the video and her defense of heterosexuality.
LeNoir, 31, enthusiastically accepted the job with the New Mexico State University, but then the school saw a video where she came out as straight and Christian. She said on the video that homosexuality was “wrong” and “not worth losing your soul over.” The school rescinded its job offer.
New Mexico State denies that any discrimination occurred, but it acknowledges that her view of homosexuality was the concern because it concluded that it “would have had an adverse impact” on her “ability to effectively coach and recruit players who identify as LGBT.”
The Washington Post cites the statement of Candice Wiggins, Stanford’s career scoring leader who played for four WNBA teams, earlier this year that 98 percent of the players in the WNBA are gay. She complained that she was pressured and ostracized for being straight.
At 16, LeNoir began dating a female basketball player. She then applied to college and played basketball as a self-identified lesbian. Nevertheless, she says that it never felt right. She believes that the Bible clearly mandates that homosexuality is a sin.
While playing professional ball in Greece, LeNoir did an interview over Skype with Christopher Hudson of the Forerunner Chronicles, a Christian organization. In the interview, she stated:
“I would say, it’s not worth it,” she said. “If you are in a same-sex relationship, it is not worth losing your soul. Whoever you’re in that relationship with, like the Lord told me, it will be the death of you. I just believe that you can overcome it. You can overcome and defeat sin . . . If you believe something that you were born gay or homosexual or whatever — if you feel you were born that way — I would say that you weren’t. God wouldn’t create you homosexual, then say in the Bible that it’s wrong, and then send you to hell. He doesn’t operate like that.”
The organization ran the interview on YouTube with the title “Sports, Fame, & Fornication.”
The university is claiming that Aggies’ coach, Mark Trakh, did not have authority to hire LeNoir. However, her counsel argues that the coach had already arranged to cut his own salary to pay LeNoir more. When she asked him why the offer was rescinded, she says that Trakh simply told her to take the video down and that such a video would bar her from any coaching job. She says that she was left with the impression that, if she returned to being a lesbian, she could keep the job.
Of course, a jury could well decide that the university did not make this decision on the basis of either LeNoir’s sexuality or faith. However, if her views were the cause for the termination, it would present a troubling conflict where one’s personal views of homosexuality is a criteria for hiring. LeNoir can obviously hold such views and not engage in discrimination against gay players. We will have to see if the contracting authority defense is accepted as true or rejected as a post hoc rationalization. In either case, this is clearly a case to watch.