Students protest after Christian university reinstates ban on LGBT relationships

Students are protesting after an Evangelical university in California, USA, reinstated a ban on LGBT+ romantic relationships between students on campus.

In September, Azusa Pacific University (APU) changed the language used in a standard of conduct agreement to allow same-sex relationships, while still forbidding gay sex and same-sex marriage, according to a report in student newspaper Zu Media.

According to the paper, the change came about following discussions between the university’s underground LGBT+ support group Haven, which was supported by LGBT+ organisation Brave Commons, and APU’s administrative board.

Students wrote messages of support to the university’s LGBT+ community in chalk around campus. (Brave Commons)

However, a statement sent out on September 28 by APU’s board of trustees said that the ban on LGBT+ relationships remained in place.

“Last week, reports circulated about a change to the undergraduate student standards of conduct,” it reads.

“That action concerning romanticized relationships was never approved by the board and the original wording has been reinstated.”

Now, students are protesting against the university’s statement in support of LGBT+ people enrolled at APU.

In one demonstration, on Monday October 1, a video shows dozens of students singing in support of the university’s LGBT+ community.

Students drew a Pride-themed crossing in chalk to protest against the university reinstating its ban on LGBT+ romantic relationships. (Brave Commons)

And, Brave Commons has made a number of posts on Facebook, uploading photos of students protesting the ban by writing messages welcoming LGBT+ people in chalk and on sticky notes across campus.

In a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday (October 2), Brave Commons said: “LGBTQ+ folx and Allies spoke out at Azusa Pacific University today, in light of the recently reinstated ban on romantic same-sex relationships.

“Last night, they put sticky notes and chalk across campus to show that LGBTQ+ students should be welcomed and feel safe being visible.

“Today, they put faces to their demonstration, spending time in worship and prayer, and showing what unified faith looks like. There is a holy rumbling happening, and we anticipate the Spirit’s work in Christian student communities across the country.

“APU: Your students are leading; we implore you to follow. Students: We stand with you, and amplify your call to administrations near and far.”

Watch the video below: 

And, in a Monday October 1 Facebook post, Brave Commons wrote: “Students at Azusa Pacific University are making their voices heard. Let’s celebrate these brave folx and allies who are peacefully demonstrating against the re-instatement of the LGBTQ+ romantic relationship ban, and standing in solidarity with the students of Haven.”

PinkNews has contacted APU for comment.

In 2013, it was reported that APU asked a professor to leave his role after he came out as a trans man.

Other Christian universities have also been criticised for their ban on same-sex relationships, which in certain instances have led to the dismissal of LGBT+ students.

In September, a student was told he wouldn’t be able to re-enroll at Clarks Summit University, a private Christian college, to complete his degree because he is gay.

And, in February, it was alleged that a Harvard University Christian group kicked out a Bible study leader because she is bisexual.

Among the other Christian colleges allowing same-sex relationships among its students, Canada’s Christian institute Trinity Western University was recently forced to drop its ban on gay sex following a Supreme Court ruling.