Ukip's candidate for this week's byelection in Croydon North has attracted criticism after suggesting that it would not be "healthy" for children to be adopted by gay couples.
Winston McKenzie's comments were quoted by local media in the south London constituency days after his counterpart in the Rotherham byelection was given a boost on the back of publicity surrounding the local council's decision to remove three young children from their foster parents because the couple were members of the party.
"If you couldn't look after your child and you had to put them up for adoption, would you honestly want your child to be adopted by a gay couple?" McKenzie asked a reporter for the Croydon Advertiser. "Would you seriously want that or a heterosexual family? Which would be more healthy for the child?
"A caring loving home is a heterosexual or single family. I don't believe [a gay couple] is healthy for a child."
The newspaper added that the former boxer, who is Ukip's spokesman for culture, media and sport, claimed couples might raise the child to be gay.
McKenzie was also quoted by the Metro newspaper as claiming that placing children with gay or lesbian couples was "child abuse". "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," he is reported to have said.
The comments were criticised by gay rights campaigners – the chief executive of Stonewall, Ben Summerskill, described them as "inflammatory". "These 19th-century views are not acceptable in the 21st century," he told Pink News.
McKenzie, a former member of the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats, is the older brother of the former boxing champion Duke McKenzie.
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