A lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group in Kentucky has launched a lawsuit against Governor Ernie Fletcher after he supported funding for a university which expelled a gay student last week.

The governor approved an $11 million budget for the University of Cumberlands, despite claims from the group that it broke discrimination laws by expelling Jason Johnson after he revealed his sexuality on a website.

A statement from the Kentucky Fairness Alliance said: “Fair-minded Kentuckians everywhere are disappointed that the Gov. Ernie Fletcher chose to support subsidising discrimination with our state tax dollars.

They called the decision “unconstitutionally discriminatory.”

“Sections 2 and 3 of our state constitution forbid the use of state tax money for any programme that discriminates against Kentucky citizens and treats them unequally.

“The appropriation is also unconstitutionally supportive of religion. Sections 5 and 189 of our state constitution clearly prohibit compulsory contributions of state tax dollars for any religious dogma or to private, sectarian schools.

“The Governor has already stripped gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender state employees of job protections; now he seems eager to deny LGBT students equal opportunity in education.”

Mr Fletcher said he approved the funding as it came from coal company severance taxes and not individual taxpayers, he welcomed the lawsuit so the issue could be debated in court