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USD Cancels Visit Over Academic’s Same-Sex Marriage Support

— The University of San Diego revoked a British theology professor’s speaking invitation last week because the professor signed a letter supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.

The University of San Diego has withdrawn its speaking invitation to an English Catholic theologian. The professor signed a letter supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.

Tina Beattie, a British theologian, writer and broadcaster.

The visit was planned for more than a year.

Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London, was scheduled to give a lecture on how women are represented in art depicting sin and redemption at the University of San Diego on November 8.

The Catholic university withdrew that invitation on October 27. In a letter, University President Mary Lyons explained it was because Beattie publicly dissents from the church’s moral teachings. That dissent, she wrote, is inconsistent with the mission school's Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, which was supposed to host Beattie's lecture, and "with the intentions of those who have financially supported the Center."

Beattie was one of 27 prominent Catholics who signed an August letter to The Times of London supporting the extension of civil marriage rights to same-sex couples, a step that she said is not out of line with Catholic academic traditions.

“I only question those questions of morals and social ethics that Catholic theologians have always questioned or we would never change," Beattie said. "We’d still be living as they did in the Middle Ages.”

Beattie said the withdrawn invitation raises concerns about the school’s commitment to academic freedom. The University of San Diego did not respond to requests for an interview by this story’s deadline.

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