THE United Kingdom Independence Party’s candidate in the Croydon North by-election, Winston McKenzie, is “deeply religious” and, according to this report, believes that all sorts of people, celebrities especially, are “pretending to be gay” to make a fashion statement or boost their popularity.
The man is clearly unhinged, and his statement, made in an interview with the Croydon Advertiser, has deeply embarrassed the right wing party.
Some people take on being gay as a sort of fashion. Celebrities come out to become more well known.
It’s a fact of life that some people actually are gay. They are what they are. They can’t help it but the other bunch take on being gay as a fashion and push it because they have nothing better to do with their lives. They let the side down.
McKenzie, who is UKIP’s spokesperson on culture, media and sport, also said that:
People can’t help their sexuality or how they were born. I can only sympathise with anyone who is gay.
And I can only sympathise with people whose brains have been turned to mush by their stupid religious beliefs.
His comments follow several weeks in which he has been making a song-and-dance about same-sex marriage. On November 26 he repeated an accusation that other UK parties would force faith groups to host same-sex marriage ceremonies against their will, although all parties have stated that they are against this.
The UKIP candidate also told the Metro that allowing a child to be adopted by a same-sex couple is an “abuse” of the child.
To say to a child, ‘I am having you adopted by two men who kiss regularly but don’t worry about it’ – that is abuse. It is a violation of a child’s human rights because that child has no opportunity to grow up under normal circumstances.
McKenzie has apparently refused to withdraw a comment made on Twitter in which he said that “other parties back” the idea of forcing churches to host same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Christian writer Symon Hill had asked McKenzie to withdraw the comment, saying that it was misleading. Hill, who is an associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank, said.
As a bisexual Christian, I find it particularly offensive that Winston McKenzie should justify his prejudices by reference to his faith.
McKenzie’s comments are not the thoughtful observations of someone who happens to hold a conservative view on sexuality; they appear as a rambling collection of unsubstantiated allegations. Far from pretending to be gay, social and religious pressures have more often led to gay and bisexual people pretending to be straight.
The chair of UKIP’s London region, David Coburn, has tried to distance UKIP from their candidate’s comments.
Mr Mackenzie absolutely does not speak for UKIP on the issues of gay marriage and gay adoption.
Coburn added that UKIP:
Are categorically not against gay adoption.
But the party does believe that adoption agencies should be allowed to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.
UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage is now facing pressure to clarify his own position on the issue and to answer accusations that his party is homophobic. There has as yet been no indication that McKenzie will be removed from his role as UKIP’s culture spokesperson.
Responding to McKenzie’s comments, Ben Summerskill of Stonewall said:
These nineteenth century views are not acceptable in the twenty-first century.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn