Starkey argued on the BBC’s Question Time last night that discriminating against Christians for their anti-gay views is intolerant.
He was referring to the recent cases of Christian foster carers and B&B owners who have been penalised for their homophobic views, under equality policies.
Labour MP and former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett argued that racists shouldn’t be allowed to foster children and neither should homophobes.
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Prominent Tory, Iain Duncan Smith also argued against Starkey, saying that foster parents should be prevented from pushing their views on children in their care.
Daily Telegraph columnist Liam Halligan, however, sided with Starkey. Halligan said, “I’m a tolerant guy, but sometimes if you absolutely push tolerant people they become intolerant because you go past the point of no return.
Halligan argued that equality legislation has “completely blown away any proportion of common sense”.
Starkey, who is both gay and an atheist, said of such legal measures, “It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old”.
He went on to say that direct discrimination against gays should be illegal, but that the state shouldn’t interfere with Christians’ beliefs.