Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has confirmed that he does not think homosexuality is a sin.
It comes after an interview with Channel 4 News yesterday (April 18), during which Cathy Newman asked Farron to clarify his position on homosexuality. “Metropolitan Remainers might like what they hear from you on Brexit, but what about social issues?” Newman asked.
Newman went on to reference a 2015 interview on Channel 4 News, during which she asked Tim three times whether he thought gay sex was a sin. Farron dodged the question each time, responding with “to understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners.”
Broaching the topic again, Newman asked: “Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?”
Disagreeing with Newman’s assessment, Farron said didn’t “struggle at all” to answer the original question, before going on to pledge his support for equality.
This provoked criticism from many on Twitter, including Sue Perkins and Owen Jones.
Earlier today, (April 19) Farron was asked by openly gay Conservative MP Nigel Evans flatly whether he thinks being gay is a sin.
“I do not. I do not,” Farron said emphatically. “I’m very proud to have gone through that lobby behind the honourable gentleman in the coalition government where the Liberal Democrats introduced gay marriage, equal marriage, and indeed did not go as far as it should have done in terms of recognising transgender rights.
“However, there is much more to be done,” he continued. “We need to make sure that we do not in any way become complacent about LGBT rights not just here but in other parts of the world – in particular what is going on in Chechnya at the moment.”
— Harry Samuels (@CuriousCabbage) April 19, 2017
Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from Chechnya over the last two weeks, after Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months.
At least three men are known to have been killed, though the paper estimates the real figure to be higher, with witnesses and survivors reporting that detainees have been imprisoned together in large groups or ‘camps’, where they have been beaten and tortured – sometimes to death – by officials.