An art sculpture designed to represent unity has been moved from a Michigan town, because residents thought it was meant to be a gay orgy.

Blue Human Condition, by sculptor Mark Chatterley, was unveiled last week near Adrian City Hall, but residents labelled it an “abomination” and referred to it as “the orgy statue”.

Chatterly said the sculpture was not intended to be sexual, and told Huffington Post the meaning was that “living today, we can’t do it alone. We rely on other people (…) to try to survive.”

Local pastor Rick Strawcutter said the sculpture was a perversion and an abomination, and was a sign that the town was being left to Sodom.

He said: “Everybody I know who sees [the sculpture] just feels like it is in itself an abomination.”

A commenter on the town website said: “One cannot argue the fact that it is clearly easy to see how one (or, rather, many) would view it in that light.

“I believe it is very unfair and unkind to infer that those of us that do so have ‘dirty minds’ and are ‘sexually repressed prudes’.”

After the outrage, the town covered up the statue, and has since moved it to the nearby Yew Park, where it would be seen by less passers-by.

Administrator Shane Horn said: “I recognize there are likely to be people on both sides of the issue who are not satisfied, but I believe this decision provides an appropriate resolution.”

The sculpture was part of the town’s public art program, one of seven works that are due to be unveiled.