Student Says University of New Mexico Punished Her for Anti-Gay Opinion

| by Michael Allen

Monica Pompeo sued her former school, the University of New Mexico, because she was allegedly kicked out of class in 2012 after describing the 1985 lesbian romance film "Desert Hearts" as "perverse" in an assignment.

In her lawsuit, Pompeo claims that her teacher Caroline Hinkley said her critique of the movie was "inflammatory and offensive" because Pompeo stated that the lesbian character had a "perverse attraction to the same sex" and a "barren womb," notes the Albuquerque Journal.

Pompeo alleges that Hinkley accused her of "hate speech" and told her not to return to class.

Pompeo's lawsuit also claims that she met with Hinkley’s supervisor, Susan Dever, who told her that the word “barren” was inappropriate and offensive.

Chief U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo ruled on Sept. 29 that Pompeo's lawsuit can move forward against the university because it may have violated her First Amendment rights.

"Simply because Plaintiff expressed views about homosexuality that some people may deem offensive does not derive her views of First Amendment protection," Judge Armijo wrote in her decision, noted the Associated Press.

“No reasonable educator could have believed that by criticizing lesbianism, (Pompeo’s) critique fell outside the parameters of the class, given the description of the class set out in the syllabus,” added Judge Armijo.

"This has been pending for a long time,"Pompeo's attorney Louren Oliveros told the Albuquerque Journal. "An university should be a place where freedom of expression is invited and where robust debate is welcomed. We're very much looking forward to having this case go to trial."

Sources: Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press (Image Credit: Nightscream)