Former US president Jimmy Carter believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage.
Carter, a born-again Christian and Baptist, told HuffPost Live he has no problem with same-sex marriage and thinks everyone should have the right to get married, “regardless of their sex”.
“I don’t have any verse in scripture … I believe that Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief,” he said.
“I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.”
Carter, 90, said his support of same-sex marriage stopped short only at churches being forced to perform marriages to which they objected.
“I wouldn’t be in favour of the government being able to force a local church congregation to perform gay marriages if they didn’t want to,” he said.
“But those partners should be able to go to the local courthouse or to their church and get married.”
The subject came up during a discussion of Carter’s own Christian faith and how it has figured into his political career, as discussed in his new memoir, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.
Carter, who teaches Sunday school in Georgia, explained that he didn’t feel his religious beliefs ever caused any serious conflict with his political obligations.
“I have had a problem with abortion,” the former president said. “I have a hard time believing that Jesus would approve of abortions, unless it was because of rape or incest or because the mother’s life was in danger.”