A professor has been sacked from a Christian University after publicly supporting gay marriage.

Jeffrey Nielsen, part time philosophy lecturer at Brigham Young University, voiced opposition to the US Senate vote on banning gay marriage, before it was rejected.

He wrote in a column for the Salt Lake Tribune on June 4 2006, “I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral.”

Mr Nielsen, a church member, was then told in a letter from the school’s philosophy department that he would not be welcome back, “In accordance with the order of the church, we do not consider it our responsibility to correct, contradict or dismiss official pronouncements of the church.

“Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over.”

Despite the rebuke and the loss of his job Nielsen said he remains a devout member of the church.

Recently gay activists were arrested at the university after telling students that policies of the university’s owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were killing gays.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told the Associated Press, “We had made it very clear that visitors were welcome on campus with restrictions, but could not use campus as a public forum.”

“They knew that they were in violation.”