,

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron branded ‘disgrace’ after refusing to answer gay sex question

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is under fire after again refusing to say whether he believes homosexuality is sinful.

Farron, who replaced Nick Clegg as leader of the UK political party in 2015, is currently under the microscope as his pro-European party is expected to make gains in the country’s snap election, announced by PM Theresa May today.

Unlike Mr Clegg, who fiercely championed LGBT rights, Mr Farron rose to the position with a poor voting history on the issue – though he has become an outspoken and consistent supporter of equal rights since becoming party leader.

The evangelical Christian MP has come under some scrutiny for his religious views – and during a Channel 4 interview in 2015, he refused to answer three times when asked if he thinks gay sex is a sin.

In another interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman today, Mr Farron was pushed on the issue again.

She challenged him: “A while back I asked you whether it was true that you believed homosexuality was a sin, and you struggled to answer. Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?”

The Lib Dem leader insisted: “I don’t think I struggled to answer, I talked about how I’m not in a position to be making theological pronouncements. I can promise you one thing, over the next six weeks I’m not going to spend my time talking theology or making pronouncements.

“As a liberal, I’m passionate about equality – about equal marriage, about equal rights for LGBT people, fighting not just for LGBT rights in this country but overseas.

“Just because I’m a Christian, it would be a bit boring for everybody if over the next six weeks I’m being asked to make theological pronouncements. I am not planning to do so.”

His comments were seized upon by Labour supporters as evidence of anti-LGBT beliefs.

Guardian columnist Owen Jones wrote: “This is an absolute disgrace. But hey, I’m just some sinning gay, what would I know.”

Others on social media branded him an “illiberal democrat”

Defenders of Mr Farron pointed to his enthusiastic support for LGBT causes since becoming leader as taking precedence over his personal views, however.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Featherstone, the architect of the country’s equal marriage law, fired back: “Turn your attack on those religions that make their followers choose between their sexuality and their faith. Tim is solid on lgbt rights”

Mr Farron has been a consistent progressive campaigner on LGBT issues as Lib Dem leader.

Just last week, Mr Farron was leading calls against the persecution of gay people in Chechnya, lobbying Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the issue.

He told PinkNews: “These reports from Chechnya are truly horrifying, and represent an extreme manifestation of increasing homophobic brutality and intolerance in Putin’s Russia.

“The UK government must strongly condemn this disgusting violence, and use every possibly opportunity to raise this with the Russian government, as well as in the UN and other international bodies.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not respond to PinkNews’ request for comment on Chechnya and did not make a public statement.

Through his time in Parliament Mr Farron has lobbied on a number of other issues, championing transgender equality and criticising the blanket ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men.

He also personally intervened in Parliament to help secure the safety of a transgender woman who has been sent to a man’s prison.

Two out transgender women are expected to stand as Lib Dem candidates in June’s election.

Mr Farron previously spoke candidly about his mixed voting record on equality legislation in a PinkNews interview, saying that he “regrets anything that gives people the wrong impression”.

The politician claimed he voted against the Programme Motion on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, because he was trying to secure more time to discuss trans issues.

He was also forced to apologise to rights campaigner Peter Tatchell – after claiming Mr Tatchell agreed with his decision to vote against 2008’s Sexual Orientation Regulations.

When challenged on his opposition, he claimed that “Peter Tatchell was on the same side as me” – but Mr Tatchell, a veteran campaigner for of LGBT rights, was actually a vocal supporter of the Act.

Making pledges on LGBT issues going forward, Mr Farron said: “On LGBT+ issues, how do you follow it? I’ll give you three things I’m very keen we do.

“One, when it comes to the equal marriage legislation, I think we really missed a trick on trans issues. On the spousal veto, I think it’s an appalling thing that one person is allowed to block another person’s freedom. We should be making that a priority.

“Secondly, it strikes me as deeply troubling is that there was no regulation of psychotherapists in the UK for quack conversion therapy.

“Thirdly, we’ve got to end the gay blood ban, which is a disgrace. My pledge to you is that my first opposition day bill will be getting rid of the gay blood ban. All of these things need to be based on the science, not on prejudice.”

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Comments

Leave a Comment Please

Loading…

Comments

comments

Homophobes want to cut off a gay guy’s arm over racy tattoo of footballer

UK’s most senior police officer Cressida Dick is in same-sex relationship