Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist

Christian Concern founder Andrea Minichiello Williams angers gay rights campaigner after speech in Jamaica

The head of a British evangelical Christian lobby group has angered gay rights campaigners by urging Jamaica to keep same-sex intercourse illegal and reportedly suggesting  that Tom Daley is in a relationship with a man because his father died.

To the dismay of mainstream church leaders Andrea Minichiello Williams, the founder of Christian Concern, spoke at conference in Jamaica to lobby against the repeal of the Caribbean island's controversial law banning gay sex.

Mrs Williams, an elected member of the Church of England General Synod, the body which creates church law, apparently said that Jamaica had the chance to become a world leader in battling foreign pressure to decriminalize same-sex intercourse.

"Might it be that Jamaica says to the United States of America, says to Europe, 'Enough! You cannot come in and attack our families. We will not accept aid or promotion tied to an agenda that is against God and destroys our families,'" she reportedly said at the event, which was held earlier this month in Kingston.

According to the news website BuzzFeed, which reported her alleged comments, she argued that it's a "big lie" that homosexuality is inborn and blamed the "lack of the father" and "sometimes a level of abuse" for creating homosexual feelings.

She reportedly illustrated  this by pointing to Olympic diver Tom Daley who came out as gay earlier this month. She is said to have added that he is "loved by all the girls and had girlfriends" and had "lost his father to cancer just a few years ago".

Yesterday Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester, where Mrs Williams was elected to the General Synod in 2011, condemned the comments.

He told the Independent that they had "no sanction in the Church of England" and that they "should be rejected as offensive and unacceptable".

Tom Daley with his father Robert at the British Academy Television Awards in 2008. Mr Daley died in 2011 (PA) Tom Daley with his father Robert at the British Academy Television Awards in 2008. Mr Daley died in 2011 (PA)
While the gay rights charity Stonewall said it was "sad" that Mrs Williams is "supporting the prosecution of gay people simply for how they were born".

Dr Keith Sharpe, vice chair of Changing Attitudes, an Anglian body calling for full equality for LGB&T people, said that her "bigoted outburst amount to dangerous hatemongering".

He added that "Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places in the world for LGB&T people who suffer homophobic intimidation and violence on a daily basis" and that endorsing its laws on gay sex amounted to supporting the "vilest form of homophobia in a most terrible cultural situation."

Mrs Williams is also the founder of the Christian Legal Centre, which funds high-profile cases "to protect the freedoms of Christians in society". These include the failed 2012 appeal by Lesley Pilkington, a therapist struck off after offering to "cure" an undercover reporter who was posing as a gay patient.

Christian Concern said Mrs Williams was "unavailable due to a private matter" yesterday.

Next month she is set to address conference for the "ex-gay movement", which is set to discuss controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy  at Emmanuel Evangelical Church in Westminster

The conference, which is entitled Setting Love In Order, will discuss controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy and comes after Labour MP Geraint published a Private Members' Bill in Parliament aimed at banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy by regulating the psychotherapy sector.

According to the conference website it seeks to protect "the freedoms to believe, to exist and to change when homosexual feelings are unwanted." 

Mrs Williams will be joined on a panel by Dr Michael Davidson, the founder of the Core Issues Trust, who in the past has described homosexuality as a "developmental aberration". Dr Davidson told the Independent he did not view "homosexuality as a disease".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot