Two more British MPs have pledged to stop taking interns from a Christian organization which backs ‘gay cures’.
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) have previously supported events which promote ‘curing’ homosexuality and ask if being gay ‘is real’. Its chief executive is a director of the Coalition for Marriage, the religious-based hate group attempting to block plans for fully-equal same-sex marriage in Britain.
But after campaigner Phillip Dawson released a list of 20 British Members of Parliament who have had interns funded by CARE, concerns were raised and a petition started, asking the MPs to drop their relationship with the organization.
So far the petition has gained over 9,000 signatures.
Two of the MPs are no longer in parliament. And already another two, David Lammy and Liz Kendall, who are both pro-gay, have severed their links to CARE. They say they didn’t realize the organizations’ homophobic views.
Now two more have also said they won’t take new interns from CARE.
Sharon Hodgson MP told BBC Newcastle radio today: ‘The theories discussed at the conference in question could not be further from my opinion, or the opinions of the young people who have had the opportunity to work in Parliament for me through CARE's scheme.
‘At no point have the interns themselves or CARE as an organisation influenced my decisions on any issues, and especially not on gay rights. My voting record on this speaks for itself.’
She praised her current intern as ‘a really hard working young man’ and said she wouldn’t be cutting his placement short as that might damage his future prospects but promised not to use CARE-funded interns after that.
Catherine McKinnell MP also told the same radio show that she is sticking with her intern but not with CARE – saying she was ‘deeply concerned’ to hear Dawson’s revelations.
She said: ‘That young person has proved to be a valuable member of my team and has gained a great deal from her experiences in Westminster and in my constituency.
‘Therefore, since the cessation of my relationship with CARE, I am pleased that she has decided to continue her internship with me, funded by me directly,
and will continue to do so until the summer. I do not intend to take any further interns as part of the CARE program.’
However Alan Beith MP took a different view, telling BBC Newcastle that CARE interns do not lobby parliamentarians and are not ‘committed’ to the organization’s views.
‘To exclude young people from internships because they are Christians would be an indefensible denial of free speech and freedom of religion,’ he said.
Dawson sees the severing of relationships between CARE and another two MPs as a victory.
He told Gay Star News: ‘The notion of a “gay cure” sounds like something from the middle ages. MPs are there to fight discrimination and prejudice, not fuel it.
‘I am delighted that more MPs are realising that it is unacceptable to accept staff members paid for by a charity that co-sponsored a “gay cure” event. I am sure the 9,000 people who have signed the petition so far will be equally pleased with this news.’