Students at Kings College London (KCL) have successfully campaigned for the removal of a window featuring former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, an alumnus of the college, on the grounds that his stance on gay marriage makes him “homophobic”.
The move comes despite Carey’s reputation as a liberal while he was Archbishop, ushering in the ordination of women priests for the first time in the Church’s history.
The front windows of KCL’s Strand campus, which line the famous London thoroughfare for 90 metres feature head and shoulders images of 50 well known alumni of the College, including former Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington who founded the college nearly 200 years ago; Florence Nightingale, who founded the College’s School of Nursing; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Bloc Party musician Kele Okereke; and Sir Ivison Macadam, who established the National Union of Students.
But student gay rights activists have been lobbying to have the window featuring Lord Carey removed following his opposition to gay marriage, legalised by the Conservative Party in 2013.
He particularly attracted their ire during a debate on same sex marriage held at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in 2012. Lord Carey made a point about the new sanctity awarded to equality, saying: “It seems to me that so many of our current problems revolve around the all-too narrow attempt to make equality the controlling virtue. Acceptance of differences does not challenge equality. We are not the same.
“Men and women are equal in the sight of the Lord but that is a statement about our legal status and not our identity. Same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level.”
It was the last sentence in particular that angered the campaigners, who branded Lord Carey a “homophobe” and a “hate figure”, and began to campaign for the window’s removal. Yesterday it was revealed that they had been successful when, according to London Student News, Ben Hunt, leader of the campaign, posted on Facebook: “…currently provisional discussions are under way for a change in the Strand windows.
“The Principal has stated that this process will involve the formation of a committee to decide the new alumni for the front of Strand. The scheme is an attempt to be more inclusive of different identities around King’s. This scheme will also mean the removal of Lord Carey and the inclusion of minorities in the discussions for new alumni.”
Nik Jovcic-Sas, former KCLSU Interfaith Officer and one of the lead campaigners, added: “This is a huge victory for LGBTQ+ rights at King’s College London, but also for the Christian community.”