A leading Roehampton University lecturer has been banned from speaking at an American college over her views supporting same-sex marriage.

Theology professor Dr Tina Beattie was scheduled to give a lecture on November 8 at the University of San Diego (USD), in California, on how women are represented in art depicting “sin and redemption”.

The invitation was withdrawn at the end of October because Dr Beattie signed a public statement, along with other leading theologians, supporting same-sex marriage.

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

Mary Lyons, USD president, explained that the decision to withdraw the invitation was made because Dr Beattie “publicly dissents” from the church’s moral teachings.

She said: “Whether you agree or do not agree with this position, it is a stance in direct conflict with the Church’s own teaching.

“Her public position in opposition to Church teaching, as a Catholic theologian, is incompatible with the Centre for Catholic Thought and Culture’s purpose.

“In addition, offering her an honorary fellowship would be a betrayal of those benefactors who supported the centre with that purpose in mind.”

Dr Beattie’s visit, which had been planned for more than a year, was cancelled by the Catholic university on October 27.

Paul O’Prey, vice-chancellor at Roehampton University, said: “Tina is a well-respected public intellectual in the UK, often called upon to discuss some of the most complex moral issues, which she does with sensitivity and respect for differing points of view.

“The nature of Tina's work means she is often subject to malicious distortions of her views, usually by anonymous bloggers on the internet, where misrepresentations often gain undue credibility.”