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Christian Union homophobia controversy at UEA

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An event held by the Christian Union at University of East Anglia’s Union bar on 6th February caused controversy when a guest speaker made comments which could be interpreted as homophobic.

The event aimed to raise awareness of Christianity whilst allowing students to discuss the religion with members of the society.

Some of those present at the meeting claimed that one of the speakers of the Christian Union condemned gay marriage in his speech, deviating from the agreed topic of discussion. A number of informal and formal complaints were made by attendees as well as bar patrons who were forced to hear the speaker’s views as he was using a microphone.

The Christian Union promptly issued an apology for any offence caused. Shortly after the incident, the UEA Christian Union met with the Union’s LGBT officer to deal with the complaints which had been made.

The LGBT officer said that the meeting helped to create a “positive understanding” between UEA Pride society and UEA Christian Union.

Nick Jones, president of UEA Christian Union, said: “From our point of view the meeting was incredibly positive. We look forward to continuing to build good relationships with the Union and LGBT community.

“We believe that the example of Jesus was to love and respect every person, regardless of whether he agreed with their opinions, and we strongly encourage any member of the CU to do the same. We would like apologise to anyone who has felt unwelcome or judged at any of our meetings or events.”

Addressing the issue of why the speaker at the event brought up same-sex marriage, Jones said the comments were made “during a question and answer session intended to be related to the topic spoken on.” He said that the question was unrelated and unexpected, so the society “had not briefed the speaker on how to respond.

“In hindsight we would have asked our speaker not to answer questions on this issue before the event. We are sorry if anyone in the bar felt that this view was forced upon them. We very much respect people’s right to choose not to listen, and will endeavour to do better at this in the future.”

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