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Gay group sanctioned

26 July 2013

BOBAK HA'ERI

Leafy: Payton Hall, on the campus of Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena 

Leafy: Payton Hall, on the campus of Fuller Theological Seminary, in Pasadena 

FULLER Theological Seminary in California, one of the best-known Evangelical theological colleges in the United States, has permitted the establishment of an LGBTQ group (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) on its campus.

Reports suggest that it is one of the first such groups to be established at an Evangelical seminary in the US.

The group, OneTable, describes itself on its website as "a safe place for dialogue between LGBTQ students and the wider Fuller community". It says that it is "not a political organisation but a student group that advocates for the shared interests of the LGBTQ community on our campus", and seeks to "create safe spaces for students and faculty to engage in healthy and constructive conversations together". As a non-political group, it is not seeking to "change policy within Fuller".

The Associate Provost for Diversity at Fuller, Juan Martinez, told the Associated Press earlier this month that gay students were expected to follow the seminary's guidelines of being celibate and non-political. "If you are ready to make that kind of commitment, then we're ready to walk with you," he said. "We're not going to turn around and say: 'No, you can't be here because you like girls, or you like guys, as opposed to the opposite sex.'"

A member of the group, Nick Palacios, told the Associated Press: "It quickly became apparent to me that I was going to be OK, and that I wasn't going to have to forsake my faith for my sexuality. I really hope that people will see Fuller and OneTable as a model of what the body of the Church is supposed to do in this situation."

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