Speaker: 'Build Bridge' Between Belmont, LGBT Community - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Speaker: 'Build Bridge' Between Belmont, LGBT Community

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by Brent Frazier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Author Andrew Marin will tell you the Grand Canyon-sized divide between a handful of his openly gay friends, and the church, is what motivated him to start his own company, be a motivational speaker and write a book. This week, he's sharing his message at Belmont University.

"He said, at one point, 'I chose to be a Christian and over a period of time, I discovered that I was gay,'" Marin recalled a conversation with a close friend, to NewsChannel 5 Monday evening, before he took the stage.

Marin lectured to a standing-room-only crowd inside Belmont's Neely Hall. He is the first of three guest speakers during Belmont's "Sex and the Soul Week," planned well before the University's very public parting of ways, in December, with women's soccer coach Lisa Howe. Howe and the University severed their years-long agreement, when Howe announced she and her same-sex partner are expecting their first child.

Sticking to its Christian code of ethics, that applies to faculty and staff, students, and just about anyone affiliated with Belmont, the University did not back down; but Belmont does seem at least open to the idea of change, that's according to Andrew Marin himself, who's looking forward to a dialogue on Tuesday with the school's top brass.

Marin is simply trying to enact a dialogue: to "build a bridge," he said, an open line of communication, between Belmont University administrators and the gay and lesbian community, often known as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT).

Marin is also looking forward to a Tuesday meeting with the Bridge Builders group:  a grassroots endeavor, trying hard to become recognized by Belmont as an official, student-run organization.

But students like Jake Edwards, a sophomore at Belmont University, and heterosexual, scoff at the school's policy that, critics say, is archaic at best.

"A lot of people here are homosexual," Edwards told NewsChannel 5. "And depending on your views toward it, it's just, it's here, it's college, it's the 21st century."

Andrew Marin is founder of The Marin Foundation. His book, released in 2009, is titled Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community. He is slated to speak again, a third and final time, at Belmont's Neely Hall Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Email: bfrazier@newschannel5.com

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