George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has involved himself in the ongoing dispute between student groups at Exeter University.

As previously reported on PinkNews.co.uk, a group of Christian students at Exeter University are going to court to try to set a legal precedent about acceptance of gay rights.

The Evangelical Christian Union has been prevented from using facilities by the Students Guild, because they ban gay or lesbian students from joining their organisation.

The ECU are taking their case to the High Court, claiming that the decision violated the rights of association of religious bodies.

Now it has emerged that Lord Carey has given a written statement to the High Court, supporting the ECU.

“It is our understanding he has offered a statement of support to Exeter University’s Christian Union,” a spokesman for the former Archbishop said.

Lord Carey acknowledged that not all Christians would agree with the substance of his statement but that his view falls within mainstream Christian belief, the BBC reported yesterday.

71-year-old Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002 and is a member of the evangelical wing of the Church of England.

At the Lambeth Conference in 1998, Carey spoke out against homosexuality and was heavily criticised for refusing to seek a consensus position.

Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, criticised student unions for barring homophobic groups, claiming it was an attack on free speech.

There have been similar clashes with student unions in Birmingham and Edinburgh universities.

Exeter University Students’ Guild issued a statement.

“Students felt that as students fund our societies and as our equal opportunities policy states, all activities should be open to all students.

“The ECU is the only society identified that has barriers to entry – both for membership of the society and to be on the committee of the society.

“This is certainly not a debate regarding the beliefs of the society, it is one of equal opportunities.”

The ECU case is due to be heard at the High Court in March or April.