LGBT+ Lib Dems Acting Chair praises Tim Farron’s record on LGBT equality

An awful lot of people that I love depend on a world where LGBTI people have proper equality. I need my leader to be able to speak up for the young transgender person so that they can feel confident that someone is on her side and understands what she needs to be able to live a happy and fulfilling life, who gets that you you are unlikely to meet your potential if you are being bullied for being gay, and how important it is that you have a good support network. I need a leader who speaks out for LGBT rights locally, nationally and internationally. In Tim Farron, I have a leader I can absolutely trust on that score.

Mischief-making Labour people, seeking to comfort themselves at the prospect of the oncoming slaughter for them, have been having a go at Tim on Twitter on this subject.

Those of us who know that Tim is sound have been saying so. And you’d think that the acting chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, Jennie Rigg, would have something interesting to say on the subject. And she does. And, as you would expect from her, she does not mince her words.

Dear media people,

I see that, thanks to Cathy Newman’s interview last night, the thorny theological topic of Sin has raised its ugly head once more.

Let me get this right out in the beginning: I don’t give a fig what Tim Farron’s religious beliefs are. You know why? Because I am a Liberal. He could believe the sky is made from Puff the Magic Dragon’s bumfluff, and I wouldn’t care one jot, whit or iota. What I do care about, and care deeply about, is
How Tim Farron votes in parliament

How he treats people – LGBT+ people in particular – in everyday life

So lets do a little list of things which illustrate how Tim Farron views LGBT people:

With one exception, Tim Farron voted fully in favour of same sex marriage. The one time he abstained? That was because he was trying to get an amendment passed on the Spousal Veto, a really nasty little clause which shafts trans people. Yep, that’s right, even the time he abstained was because he was fighting for LGBT+ rights, not against them.

He was the first party leader to issue a statement on the gay concentration camps in Chechenya. He condemned them in the strongest terms. And while the Greens have since joined in, none of the Tories, Labour, or UKIP have.

He campaigned against section 28 from its inception, and thinks that refusing people service for their sexuality (like bakeries not baking cakes for gay marriages) is unchristian.

He spoke out on the blood donation ban (I’m still banned from giving blood, by the way – because I have had sexual relations with bisexual men).

He has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of trans women in prisons, and trans issues in general. When we had a trans rights motion before conference, he was there at 9.30am in the front row to vote for it. Not because of the cameras – there were no cameras – but because he is enthusiastic about LGBT+ rights, and not just G rights with a smattering of L like many politicians.

When Lib Dem conference brought in an accreditation scheme that inadvertently discriminated against LGBT+ people, he listened to us at LGBT+LDs, and then he went to head office and batted for us till the scheme was changed, and eventually dropped.

He has said to me personally that when poly marriage is made legal he wants to be the first on the invite list to our wedding.

Look, I could go on for hours here, but it is as plain as the nose on my face that Tim Farron is no homophobe.

You can read the whole article here.

Update: See Tim asked the “Is being gay a sin?” question in the House of Commons here. That issue can now safely be put to bed.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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18 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Apr '17 - 4:16pm

    This is excellent .The comments both from Caron and Jennie.

    I have just dealt with this on another thread. Unlike Jennie, I have no direct experience of being a part of the LGBT community, only a very staunch supporter, and in the arts, in a professional area where that comes naturally.

    Equally unlike Jennie, I do have direct experience of a Catholic Christian upbringing and a year , as per my degree years, of philosophy and theology.

    Those who believe in a book based religion who see the book in question , not as a source of many questions, but one of many more answers, get into one great philosophical or theological minefield !

    Solution: See it as a book, with that which you are inspired by, as inspiring, and that which you are not , as not !

  • Thank goodness he gave the straight answer in the Commons. Whilst I appreciate the trust those who know him place in Tim, those of us mere voters could be forgiven for seeing the two interviews as troubling. He needs to avoid other such issues other the weeks ahead…

  • Paul Harding 19th Apr '17 - 5:19pm

    It’s a shame that Tim hasn’t been able to put this issue to bed.
    However to all his critics do remember that if this wasn’t an issue the media and the twitter trolls would be snipping at him for something else.

  • Lorenzo: for clarity I was high church Anglican by upbringing, but decided I was an atheist at about 12. So I do know a little of Christianity, but I wouldn’t claim to know as much as those who actually believe in it.

  • clive english 19th Apr '17 - 7:25pm

    hmm Paul how hasn’t he put this to bed the answer was very clearly given today in front of the house of commons

  • Whether it is unclear or clear how a politician individually feels the most important thing is the actions they take. While the progressive parties are acting Tory’ish in trying to talk about media image of opposition in order to win votes this piece hits the nail on the head: “I await your forensic questioning of the Prime Minister on her voting record with regard to LGBT+ rights with interest.”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Apr '17 - 9:21pm

    Jennie

    Thank you for that comment, I meant, merely, that you are not a Catholic, a Church that has particularly strong views at times on these matters , as do now, more conservative Anglicans , and many or some who adhere to a strong view or faith.My main point in the comment on this was that once you go into the theology on these issues , it complicates things !

    I am not a practitioner of religion, I moved from a Catholic background to a holistic outlook, just as I did from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, a separate personal and political journey, it meant moving not very far as it happens , as I was a liberal minded social democrat , as well as very liberal in my Catholicism, for example as a teenager in a Catholic school , it was the mid eighties, before the Church of England ordained decision, when I supported the ordination of women very strongly .I do respect and admire genuine religious people, when their faith is a force for good.

    Like you Jennie, it is to Mill, and the harm principle I adhere most.

    Your statement was very much what was needed, so well done .

  • nigel hunter 19th Apr '17 - 9:33pm

    The Bible says ‘We are all sinners’
    Equally judge not lest you be judged END

  • nigel hunter 19th Apr '17 - 9:55pm

    He commented on this very clearly on the tv .Then went on to discuss the topic further. However the barracking was a disgrace.

  • Gareth Hartwell 20th Apr '17 - 9:26am

    I read the comments in Metro allegedly made by David Walliams about Tim which I think are very unfair (though I think he could have handled the Channel 4 question better).

    I knew Tim personally in our student days. He worked very closely with a great many LGBT people in the student community and was good friends with some of them. He never showed any signs of intolerance whatsoever and frequently promoted LGBT issues and campaigns. I think this is a complete misrepresentation of his views and actions over the years.

  • Thanks, Lorenzo x

  • Sue Sutherland 20th Apr '17 - 1:36pm

    Jennie’ statement was magnificent and is being shared a lot on social media. Thank you Jennie

  • Robert - Bristol 20th Apr '17 - 3:51pm

    I do wish Tim Farron had cleared this up during his leadership campaign and he was invited to do so many times. As he didn’t the inevitable has happened but hopeful now the media will shut up about it and enable us to get on with what this election is really about.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 20th Apr '17 - 7:04pm

    Why is it only Tim that is being questioned about this? As a christian would the PM also believe that being gay is a sin? Has anyone bothered to ask her?

  • Lynne Featherstone 20th Apr '17 - 7:09pm

    How did you know about the bum fluff?

  • Matthew Huntbach 20th Apr '17 - 8:58pm

    Suppose a LGBT person was leader of the party. And that person was questioned again and again and again and again, in a way that was intended to suggest that underneath they would be someone who is prejudiced against Christians, with hints that means anyone who is LGBT shouldn’t be a party leader because that means they probably would have such a prejudice, whatever they said.

    Would that be fair?

    If not why is it considered fair to do it the other way round?

    Even if Farron were to take a more overtly conservative Christian viewpoint on these issues, would that mean he would be able to impose those views on the party as a whole? What sort of party would we be if that were the case? Not a liberal democratic party, that’s for sure. The job of a party leader of a democratic party is NOT to impose his or her own personal views but to lead according to the democratic will of the party as a whole.

  • The article states its case with force and clarity. Tim Farron’s lack of agility in dealing with the issue is worrying, though.

    Make no mistake – once the media spin and disinformation machines come up to speed in the coming weeks, there will be a lot more of this, and a prompt and efficient mechanism for picking it up and refuting it is essential.

    A lie can travel round the world before the truth manages to put its shoes on.

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