St. Andrews: LGBT students protest during sermon by anti-gay Cardinal O’Brien

Edmund Broch April 15, 2012
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In addition to a silent protest that greeted Cardinal Keith O’Brien at the University of St Andrews today, some members of the university’s LGBT group staged a walk-out as soon as the Cardinal began his sermon.

St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland, founded in 1413, and the third-oldest in the English-speaking world. Earlier this week, the LGBT society in the university had said that they would organise a silent protest during the Cardinal’s sermon, on account of his opinion that marriage equality would be “a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.” The university’s Student Representative Council had voted unanimously to support the protest.

According to a press statement received by, in addition to the silent protest, an “autonomous” group of individuals also staged a walk out during the sermon by Britain’s most senior Catholic at the university’s St Salvator’s Church.

The statement, signed by a group called “three queers,” drew attention to the comparisons O’Brien made of equal marriage to slavery, and said that there was one comment which inspired them in particular. The cardinal had said that marriage equality would result in “further aberrations” that would lead to society’s “degeneration” and “immorality.”

“So,” the statement read, “as queers we could not let O’Brien get through his day without being inconvenienced and shamed. It is for that reason that three humyns left their seats as he started to speak, turned our backs to him and walked out of the Church. It was, we imagine, yet another one of those toe-curling aberations.”

It added: “We must also give our thanks to the beautiful people of the LGBT Society on campus who ensured we were not alone. Through their organising hundreds were made aware of O’Briens presence and today many of those showed up to demonstrate peacefully in the Church too. Sitting together to form on gorgeous bloc the folks of the LGBT Society formed the colours of the rainbow with their clothing. Those outside supported too with flags, smiles and yet more of those familiar rainbow hues.”

The Cardinal’s office could not be reached for comment.

Related topics: Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Scotland, St Andrews University

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