'Being gay is a sin' - Wellingborough councillor King Lawal sparks storm over comments during Pride Month
and live on Freeview channel 276
A Conservative Wellingborough councillor has become the subject of an official complaint after he tweeted that ‘pride was a sin’ and that gay people could be ‘saved’.
North Northamptonshire member Cllr King Lawal (Con, Queensway and Brickhill) sparked a furious response on Twitter when he quoted the bible and said that the those involved in pride should ‘repent’.
Opposition member Cllr Zoe McGhee has now denounced his comments and complained to NNC about her fellow councillor’s tweets.
His statements were also criticised by the North Northants LGBTQ+ Forum which said he should stop ‘hiding behind religion’.
Cllr Lawal, a Christian, tweeted at 7am: “When did Pride become a thing to celebrate! Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ. He can save you. #PrideMonth #Pride2023 #PrideParade”. He then quoted a bible passage which said: “Whatever God calls ‘sin’ is nothing to be proud of.”
When challenged, he went on to say that ‘homosexuality is a sin,’ that ‘he would ‘not be silenced’ and that ‘If you’ve taken offence to my tweet, then you take offence to the bible. Not my problem.’
But he also said: “In no way am I suggesting that LGBT people should be persecuted or should not live freely in which or whatever way they want.”
He later spoke to our reporters, saying his beliefs were informed by his Christianity. When asked if he thought being gay was a sin, he said: “Yes, it is a sin.
"It says so in the bible. I am a man of faith.
"Pride begat the fall of Satan and now we are supposed to celebrate it?
"People can do whatever they want to do. I treat everyone equally and I love everyone equally.
"I am not going to treat anyone differently. I will represent them all fairly.”
North Northamptonshire Council, which is flying the pride flag above all its offices this month, declined to attack Cllr Lawal’s tweet, instead issuing in a joint statement from leader Cllr Jason Smithers (Con, Oundle) and Interim Chief Executive George Candler which said: “ We’re proud to be supporters of Pride Month, with our first ever Pride event held in Corby, a visual presence on our website, social media posts, and the raising of the Pride Flag at our town buildings.
“We continue to be committed to reducing inequality within our communities and creating a fair and inclusive working environment for our employees.
“We fully support our LGBTQ+ community.”
But opposition member Zoe McGhee, who wrote her own dissertation on the legacy of anti-LGBT rhetoric in the Conservative party while at Brighton University, said: “I have submitted an official complaint.
"I would ask Cllr Lawal to please understand this from the perspective of people who are just wanting to live their lives in whatever way they want.
"Being gay is not something you choose.
"Everyone should be celebrated. We want to have a diverse chamber where everyone feels welcomed.”
She also then tweeted pictures of her and her friends at Pride events in response to Cllr Lawal.
In a statement, the North Northants LGBT+ Forum said: “It is unfortunate that a councillor, who is meant to represent and support all the people within their ward, has chosen to make these comments.
“We will continue to work with North Northamptonshire Council who have reaffirmed their commitment to us to continue striving toward being inclusive, and providing a safe and supportive place for everyone.
“I would remind people that religion preaches love and tolerance, not hate and judgement as seen today. Christians are compelled by their religion to raise others up, not tear them down; something we should all keep in mind.
“We would say to Mr Lawal, and others who sadly share this view, to take ownership of your prejudices and homophobia rather than hiding behind religion.“There are many religious people who are fully supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and rightly so.
“Pride is a celebration and way to raise people up. It frees people from having to repress their true identities and means they can find support to feel valued.
“If anyone has been affected by Mr Lawal’s comments I would encourage them to reach out to us as a forum. We are a welcoming community and work with so many partners who can help, no matter who you are.”
Others on social media also condemned Cllr Lawal’s tweets. NNC opposition leader Cllr Matt Keane (Lab, Corby West) said: “The role of a councillor is to act with integrity and honesty, act lawfully. treat all persons fairly and with respect. lead by example and act in a way that secures public confidence in the role of councillor.”