The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Martin Wharton speaking in House of Lords debate has strongly condemned the criminalization of homosexuality in many countries. Bishop Martin said that on the issue of homosexuality the Anglican Communion was “deeply divided” but insisted there could not be “any grounds for denying the equality before the law of every single human being, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual”.
Tory peer Lord Black of Brentwood challenged Bishop Martin in the House of Lords debate to condemn the criminalisation of homosexuality.
Bishop Martin responded by saying: “I will say as clearly as I can that criminalisation is wrong.”
“I know when I say that that I speak not just for myself but for other members of this Bench, and I want to say it as clearly as the Bishop of Leicester did in a previous debate a few months ago.
“If criminalisation leads, as it evidently does, to gay people concealing their identity, that is wrong.
“If criminalisation leads to many living in fear, that is wrong.
“If criminalisation leads to the prospect of persecution, arrest, detention and death, that is wrong.
“If criminalisation means that LGBT people dare not turn to the state when facing violence and hate crimes, that is wrong.
“If criminalisation hinders the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS, that is wrong.”