David Lammy cuts ties with far-right Christian group that opposes gay marriage (From Haringey Independent)
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Tottenham MP David Lammy cuts ties with far-right Christian group CARE that opposes gay marriage
A Tottenham MP has pledged to cut ties with a far-right Christian charity which paid for an intern in his office after learning of their opposition to gay marriage.
Politician David Lammy said he would not continue to work with Christian organisation CARE – who paid an intern £5,500 to work in his office for a year from January 2011 - after a Haringey Independent investigation.
The group opposes gay marriage legislation set to be introduced into Parliament later this year and sponsored a London event in 2009 which discussed “therapeutic approaches to and understandings of same sex attraction” and “mentoring the sexually broken”.
Mr Lammy told the Haringey Independent: “My record on gay rights stands for itself and I’ll be voting in favour of the gay marriage bill.
“I’ve worked with CARE in the past on betting shops – which is an issue that still blights Tottenham – and I accepted an intern to help in my office which is the busiest in the country.
“But I had no idea that they held these views and my position now is that I won’t be taking another intern because I can’t agree with their extreme views.”
The Tottenham MP, who is a Christian, has voted strongly for furthering gay rights since being elected in 2000 – charity Stonewall gave him a 93 per cent score in a study of pro-equal rights MPs at the last General Election.
His decision to abandon CARE piles pressure on Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, who helped launched the Coalition for Marriage group on Monday and said he would continue to accept an intern from the charity.
Mr Burrowes has been criticised by more than 250 people who have signed up to a Facebook group calling on him to listen to their views, as well as Enfield Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network.
He said on Monday: “My views are that the values of marriage should be between a man and a woman and that is something which is set out in statute hundreds of times – if you change the shape of marriage then you change its purpose and risk changing the meaning of it.”
CARE also pays £5,500 in sponsorship for an intern to work in his office every other year, but both it and the MP deny that it is a lobby group or at any time has had any influence on policy.
The charity has provided the interns to 18 MPs as part of its Leadership Programme which it says places people with influential Christians in public life to gain experience.
A public consultation on how to make civil marriage available to same-sex couples will be launched next month, while Prime Minister David Cameron told last October's Conservative Party conference he supported gay marriage.