PinkNews.co.uk exclusive

Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams has expressed scepticism about the long period of exemption from the new Sexual Orientation Regulations that the government has granted to Roman Catholic adoption agencies.

“I think the Prime Minister’s decision is welcome, there should be no exemptions,” he told PinkNews.co.uk

“He has said they can have 21 months – I am not sure if it takes nearly two years for the Catholic church to decide if they want to be in the child welfare business.”

Mr Williams, the MP for Bristol West, said that constituents had been in contact with him about the proposed opt-out for Catholics:

“There has been quite a lot of post on this, from both sides of the argument.

“A couple came into my surgery on Friday and were quite vociferous about the rights of the church. We had a full and frank exchange of views.”

Mr Williams, currently the only out gay LibDem MP, today tabled an Early Day Motion supporting the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) campaign.

“It’s a chilling thought that in many parts of the world homosexuality is viewed with such hostility that it is made a criminal act,” he said.

“In some states this leads to the harassment of gay people by their fellow citizens or agents of the government.

“In other states, most notably Iran, the outcome is even worse with public executions of young men simply because of their sexuality. This is a human rights issue that the British government should be championing in the UN.”

10 other MPs from all three main parties have signed the motion so far.