UKIP LGBT chairman: I support same-sex marriage — but it’s not important

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The deputy chairman of UKIP’s affiliated LGBT group is defending the party from accusations of homophobia and says he would never be kicked out of the party for supporting same-sex marriage.

Nathan Garbutt, who resigned from the Conservative Party in 2006 after activists in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, allegedly tried to stop him posing for gay magazine Attitude, has dismissed claims that last week’s resignation of Olly Neville, the former chairman of the party’s youth wing, was down to his support of equal marriage.

In a letter to PinkNews, Mr Garbutt, deputy chair of LGBTQ* in UKIP, wrote:

It is well documented I resigned from the Conservative Party in 2006 with a few headlines like ‘Gay Tory in Photo Row’. Homophobia was very much at large during my time in the Conservative Party especially from my local Conservative branch, shortly after resigning I joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and my experience has been quite the opposite, UKIP members and officials have had no issues with my sexuality at all, in fact as an openly gay man I have twice been elected as Chairman of UKIP Wakefield District, stood as a candidate several times and after a resignation was elected onto the parties National Executive Committee (NEC) with 1,957 votes from the parties membership.

Last year I was also involved in forming LGBT in UKIP, in the role of deputy chair. I am often asked why I am supporting a party that does not support gay marriage. Primarily, I’d like to make it clear that the former Young Independence Chairman Olly Neville was not removed for having personal views favouring gay marriage. Olly, who I have always found to be decent chap, was removed as acting (interim) chairman of Young Independence for a variety of other reasons given in a statement from the party.

If he had been removed for favouring gay marriage, the question stands; ‘Why have I not been removed too?’, as I do believe in the concept of gay marriage, however understanding we have to be careful not to put religious institutions in a position of uncertainty. The government simply does not have the power to make the guarantees it is making.

I personally believe in gay marriage but NOT at the expense at other people’s personal liberties, UKIP support civil partnership, has equality not already been achieved here? Perhaps the gay community should tackle far more important issues of equality like homophobia in schools?

UKIP are polling on 16%, third in the polls, we are expected to come first in the 2014 European elections and gain MPs in 2015, Cameron is desperate to label us homophobes, racists and “Fruit cakes” but quite frankly I would be a rather be a principled fruit cake than a lying Eton mess.