Lib Dem leader under fire over beliefs

What happened?

The Christian leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has come under fire for appearing to dodge the question of whether he thinks same-sex acts are sinful. Several interviewers have asked him whether he believes gay sex is a sin; Farron has said he will not answer because it is a matter of private belief. He has also been asked about the matter in the House of Commons. Asked whether he though being gay was a sin, he replied: “No, I don’t,” and pointed to his record of voting for LGBT rights.

What the media are saying

On Twitter, many expressed their dismay at Tim Farron’s interviews. Guardian columnist Owen Jones called Farron’s response “an absolute disgrace”, adding: “But hey, I’m just some sinning gay, what would I know.”

There was also some support for Mr Farron. When comedian David Baddiel said Farron was “a fundamentalist Christian homophobe”, Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick, who is in a same-sex partnership, responded: “Dear David. Tim has beliefs I don’t agree with about what God thinks about sex outside of (straight) marriage, but he’s not a homophobe. No joke.”

Former Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, who helped to lead the parliamentary campaign for redefining marriage, said the criticism of Farron was “persecution of a private belief”.

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