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Tim Farron 'regrets' saying he believed gay sex was not a sin

Ex-Liberal Democrat leader admits he 'foolishly, and wrongly' tried to push away scrutiny with answer that did not match his beliefs

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 10 January 2018 18:49 GMT
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Tim Farron 'regrets' saying he believed gay sex was not a sin

Tim Farron has said he regrets declaring he did not believe gay sex is sinful during the 2017 general election.

The then-Liberal Democrat faced repeated questioning over his Christian beliefs during the campaign and at first declined to state his position. Eventually he relented and told the BBC in April: “I don’t believe that gay sex is a sin.”

It came two years after a grilling by Channel 4‘s Cathy Newman, who asked three times what Mr Farron believed and elicited the response that to “understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners”.

Reflecting on those comments in an interview with Premier Radio, Mr Farron said his election statement was something “I regret”. He had “foolishly, and wrongly, attempted to push [the scrutiny] away by giving an answer that, frankly, was not right,” he added.

Asked about his regrets, the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP said: “In the end the difficulty I’ve got in all this is if you’re a Christian you’ve got a very clear idea about what sin is, and it is us falling short of the glory of God. That is something we equally, all of us, share.

“In one sense, to be asked that question, is to essentially persecute one group of human beings.”

Non-Christians view sin as “condemnatory” and it feels like “being accused of something”, Mr Farron said, adding that ”we’re talking different languages”

“Maybe you could’ve explained that” but it would be “naive” to think the people behind the questions were “interested in the theology”, he said.

In the past Mr Farron has spoken of his “passionate concern about LGBT+ rights” and said he had campaigned on the issue for 31 years since joining the Lib Dems.

Believing in the right of people to make their own choices was essentially liberal, he told the radio station.

Sir Vince Cable, the new Lib Dem leader, tweeted: “I strongly disagree with @timfarron’s personal views expressed today. @libdems have a long & proud record of fighting for #LGBT+ rights: campaigning to repeal section 28, equalising age of consent and legislating for equal marriage. I will continue to champion rights and dignity.”

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