Gay rights group Busselton Pride Alliance is demanding that Edith Cowan University revoke the honorary doctorate recently awarded to former Liberal MP Barry House unless he apologises for previous “homophobic” comments. Alliance secretary Clare Paine said Mr House, who served in the Legislative Council for 30 years until his retirement in 2017, had a long history of anti-LGBTI rhetoric. She said the university’s conferral of the honorary degree in March contradicted its own policies on inclusion because Mr House had voted against every LGBTI equality law during his parliamentary career. “By giving this honorary doctorate, ECU is sending the message that it rewards prejudice, or at least will overlook it,” Ms Paine said. Ms Paine said in 1989 Mr House voted against the decriminalisation of homosexuality. In 2002, when opposing in-vitro fertilisation being made available for same-sex couples, he told Parliament the legislation was an attempt to “normalise” homosexuality that was being “foisted on the community”. Ms Paine said as recently as 2019 Mr House had invited tennis legend Margaret Court — who has spoken out against same-sex marriage in her role as a church pastor — to speak at the official opening of Busselton Tennis Club, where he was president. “For many LGBTI people living in the South West, having their local MP say hurtful and wrong things about them as well as supporting discriminatory laws was damaging,” she said. “One of the historical reasons many young people left the regions for the city was because of homophobia.” Mr House denied he was homophobic. “We live in arguably the best democracy in the world, where everybody is entitled to their view on a whole variety of matters, and respected for it.” Mr House said the group’s claim it wanted to meet him was “insincere”, since it had issued a media release before he even had a chance to respond. An ECU spokesperson said the university was committed to creating an environment where equality and diversity is celebrated, and everyone has equal access and opportunities to achieve their potential. “We acknowledge the concerns raised by members of the community and the university is currently making further enquiries,” the spokesperson said.