University deadlocked over ‘ex-gay’ course
Edinburgh University has reached deadlock in an argument with its Christian Union over a course which appears to promote homophobia.
The University this week repealed a ban of its Christian Union after being threatened with legal action, but now the society is refusing to abide by the new terms.
The Christian Union had been forced to move off campus after launching a course which promoted ‘ex-gay’ therapies, Edinburgh University bosses have now said they will allow the Pure course if it also refers to other viewpoints.
However, the offer has been rejected, Laura Stirrat, vice president of the Christian Union, told The Scotsman: “We don’t want this to drag on. If we cannot resolve the matter through communication we may turn to legal action, but we don’t want to do that.
“If we thought it was homophobic we would not do it. Everyone is welcome to attend regardless of their sexuality, homosexuality is a very small part of the course.
“It’s mentioned in the same category as fornication and adultery, not the way God intended relationships to be. It does not single it out as worse than anything else.”
Edinburgh University’s Student Union along with LGBT Scotland are standing by claims that the course is homophobic, Tim Goodwin, EUSA said: “It is essentially homophobic and we have a policy that condemns the course itself.
“There are statements that the course makes that are homophobic. It describes homosexuality as dysfunctional and destructive.”
He said it could be tolerated if other views were shown.
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Tom French, the National Union of Students’ LGBT Scotland officer, told the paper, “We are campaigning against the course. It refers to homosexuality as something that can and should be healed.
“If that kind of attitude was taken on skin colour or gender it would be deemed unacceptable by society.
An Edinburgh University spokeswoman said: “The university is currently examining ways to find a solution to the issues surrounding the teaching of the Christian Union’s Pure course on campus.
“There is no general ban on the Christian Union or any other religious group operating in the university and we strongly defend the right to free speech and freedom of conscience, but the nature and content of this course cause real difficulties for the university in the context of its commitment to equality and diversity.
“This is a complex and delicate matter and the university is working to strike a balance which will be acceptable to everyone involved, and is staying in close touch with Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) in this regard.”
Christian Unions in Exeter and Birmingham have also been prohibited from using university facilities and in some cases from being recognised as a club because of alleged discrimination towards non-Christians and gay people.