Saturday, 18 July 2015

Homosexuality: Tim Farron Refuses To Say It's Not a Sin

After wholeheartedly supporting our new Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron throughout the leadership race I now find myself in a slightly uncomfortable position. Speaking to Cathy Newman on Channel 4 on Friday night, Mr Farron seemingly refused to directly answer with a yes or a no, as to whether he believes homosexual sex is a sin.

Three times, Farron was asked whether he thought homosexual sex was a sin and just 24 hours after he'd been elected leader, the closest we got to an answer was: "My firm belief is that we are all sinners."

WATCH: Tim Farron Speaks to Cathy Newman on Channel 4: a newly joined member of the Liberal Democrats the last thing I want to do is be seen as being unnecessarily critical towards a leader who has been in place for two minutes, but this interview simply cannot be ignored. I understand that it is vital that religious freedom is recognised and celebrated, but the days when homosexuality was considered to be a sin, in any context, are surely no longer relevant in 21st century Britain, especially coming from the leader of a left wing party, which should be at the forefront of championing the reality that homosexuality is not some "chosen" way of life, but that it's a natural occurrence, and certainly not something which should be viewed as "morally wrong" or sinful for that matter.

But on the other hand, if Tim Farron's view is that he strongly feels homosexual sex is a sin, who am I to tell him that he's wrong? I think as long as those views don't interact with his judgement when it comes to legislating and figuring out Liberal Democrat policy on LGBT+ issues, then should we as Lib Dems be contributing to this sense of outrage which has emerged since Tim made these comments on Channel 4.

However that's not to say this omission to give a direct response isn't quite frankly, a disaster, because the fact of the matter is if you asked any other leader of a political party from across the political spectrum, who else would not be able to answer this question with a flat out "No"? That's where my key concern comes from.

If I did not make my views known I would not be helping the party or the LGBT+ community for that matter, in any way. We could sit on the side lines and pretend the Lib Dem fightback is well underway and the sun is shining, but the reality is with interviews like this, I think the party has hit a speed bump on the road to recovery. A speed bump which can be overcome but only with some clarification on Tim Farron's part about how he views acts of homosexual sex.

It is clear to me that Tim Farron is no homophobe, I remember the joy he expressed on Twitter, when same sex marriage was legalised across the United States and it is a well known fact that Tim has openly said he supports same sex marriage. But that's all well and good coming from a Liberal Democrat. Of course I KNOW that Tim Farron is not a homophobe and his mantra is "Your rights are my rights" but now we need to make sure that in light of this interview, that the wider British public and in particular the LGBT+ British public know the truth.

To conclude, the Cathy Newman interview made me cringe, Tim seemed uncomfortable with the questioning and I felt uncomfortable watching it as an openly gay man. But as I have set out, I know Tim is not a homophobe and therefore despite this bumpy start on the media circuit, I still stand by my vote for Tim to lead the party into the future, and as those three council by-elections showed earlier this week, that future can be a very bright one for the Liberal Democrats.

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