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New Lib Dem leader Tim Farron ‘refuses to answer’ when asked if gay sex is a sin

Nick Duffy July 17, 2015

The new leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, refused to answer a question three times, when directly asked if he believes gay sex is a sin.

Tim Farron was yesterday elected to lead the Liberal Democrats, replacing former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg following the party’s electoral wipe-out in May’s General Election.

Though his appointment was welcomed by some, The Times ran a column criticising Mr Farron’s “illiberal” approach to gay issues, citing his strong religious beliefs and failure to “embrace the quintessentially liberal idea that every person has equal moral worth”.

Though he presumably hoped an appearance on Channel 4 News would smooth over the row, Mr Farron repeatedly dodged a question when Cathy Newman asked him if gay sex is sinful.

She asked him: “Personally, do you think as a Christian, that homosexual sex is a sin?”

He answered by saying that Christians “do not go around forcing their views on other people” – but did not say that homosexuality is not a sin.

When challenged for a second time, he claimed “to understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners” – but did not say that homosexuality is not a sin.

When she challenged him yet again with a direct Bible quote from Leviticus, he claimed: “My faith is based upon my belief that Jesus Christ is who he said he is” – but did not say that homosexuality is not a sin.

Mr Farron had previously spoken openly about his poor 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.”

More: Equality, Gay, LGBT, Lib Dem, liberal democrat, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Norman Lamb, Sex, sin, sinful, tim farron

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