Tim Farron has confirmed that he doesn’t think homosexuality is a sin.
The Liberal Democrat party leader – who is an evangelical Christian – has championed LGBT+ rights throughout his career, but caused controversy this week when he refused to say whether he believes same-sex love is a sin.
Now, speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Farron finally put an end to the debate when he was asked the question once again by Conservative MP and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans.
“I do not,” Farron replied. “I am very proud to have gone through the lobby behind the Honourable Gentleman under the Coalition Government where the Liberal Democrats introduced gay marriage, equal marriage and, indeed, did not go as far as it should in terms of recognising transgender rights.”
He continued: “There’s so much more to be done. If we campaign in this election for an open, united and tolerant society, then we need to make sure we are not complacent in any way about LGBT rights.”
Farron’s comments bring an end to years of speculation over his views towards homosexuality, which began after he failed to give a concrete answer during an interview with Cathy Newman back in 2015.
Appearing on Channel 4 News earlier this week, Farron once again dodged the question over whether or not he believes being gay is a sin.
“A while back I asked you whether it was true that you believed homosexuality was a sin, and you struggled to answer,” Newman asked. “Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?”
Farron replied: “I don’t think I struggled to answer, I talked about how I’m not in a position to be making theological pronouncements.
“I can promise you one thing, over the next six weeks I’m not going to spend my time talking theology or making pronouncements.
“As a liberal, I’m passionate about equality – about equal marriage, about equal rights for LGBT people, fighting not just for LGBT rights in this country but overseas.
“Just because I’m a Christian, it would be a bit boring for everybody if over the next six weeks I’m being asked to make theological pronouncements. I am not planning to do so.”
The Liberal Democrat leader does have a strong record when it comes to voting in favour of equal rights for LGBT+ people, despite abstaining from voting for same-sex marriage in May 2013.
Farron did tell the Observer after abstaining from that vote that he regretted his decision, adding that if the choice was ever put forward again he would vote in favour of equal marriage.
Former Lib Dem MP and the architect of the same-sex marriage law, Lynne Featherstone, defended Tim Farron after the exchange aired on television last night.
“Turn your attack on those religions that make their followers choose between their sexuality and their faith,” she tweeted. “Tim is solid on LGBT rights.”