FORMER US president Jimmy Carter has outlined his belief that Jesus would have approved of gay marriage but may have also been opposed to abortion.
Carter, who was President of the United States of America from 1977 to 1981, made the comments during a discussion with Huff Post Live.
Asked to give his opinion on gay marriage and the role of the church, Carter said:
"I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage. 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."
He went on to add, however, that any church opposed to same-sex marriage should not be forced to perform them:
"The only thing I would draw a line on is I wouldn't be in favour of the government being able to force a congregation to perform a gay marriage if they didn't want to.
"But those two partners should be able to go to a local court house, or another church, and get married. That's no problem."
Carter also weighed in the debate around abortion, stating that he felt Jesus would not have approved of it:
"I have a hard time believing that Jesus would approve abortions unless it was because of rape or incest or if the mother's life was in danger.
"So, I've had that struggle. I've had that struggle, but my oath of office was to obey the Constitution and the laws of this country as interpreted as the Supreme Court, so I went along with that."
Carter was on the show to promote his book 'A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety' and seemed eager to discuss matters of faith.