Gay UKIP MEP slammed by charity for saying: ‘Gay marriage breeds homophobia’

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The director of Scotland’s Equality Network has criticised UKIP MEP David Coburn for claiming “gay marriage breeds homophobia”.

Tim Hopkins said Mr Coburn’s remarks were a “complete inversion of logic and of the evidence”.

Mr Coburn, who is gay, was elected on Sunday night as UKIP’s first ever Member of the European Parliament for Scotland.

He said: “Civil partnerships should be enough. Gay marriage breeds homophobia as people are happy enough to tolerate gay people.

“I don’t see the point of crossing the road to pick a fight with people of faith.”

Equality Network Director Tim Hopkins has denounced Mr Coburn for his comments in a letter published today in The Scotsman.

Mr Hopkins wrote:-

“Newly elected MEP David Coburn’s claim that ‘gay marriage breeds homophobia’ is a complete inversion of logic and of the evidence.

“Over the past 15 years, bit by bit, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has been removed from Scots law. At each step, the Scottish Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the change and, over the same period, public opinion has continued to move strongly in favour too.

“The introduction of civil partnership in 2004 was followed by a big rise in support for same-sex marriage, from 41 per cent in 2002, to 61 per cent in 2010, ­according to the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey.

“The strong, majority support for equal marriage in Scotland remained solid throughout the lengthy public debate on the issue. Opposition among those under 35 is now less than 10 per cent.

“There is every reason to suppose that, as has been the experience in other countries, public support for equal marriage will rise further over the decade following the introduction of the new law at the end of this year.

“The idea that one combats prejudice against a minority by denying that minority equal legal rights, in the hope that people will then ‘tolerate’ them and leave them alone, is a counsel of despair.”

Mr Coburn was previously UKIP’s London regional chairman.

Writing for PinkNews in May 2012, Mr Coburn declared that same-sex marriage was “unnecessary”.

UKIP remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

The Scottish Government has said the first same-sex weddings will take place in the country later this year.

The Equality Network helped lead the campaign for equal marriage in Scotland.