Exclusive: UKIP candidate for Croydon North says gay people should not be allowed to adopt
UKIP'S candidate for the Croydon North by-election says gay people should not be allowed to adopt.
Winston McKenzie said placing children with gay or lesbian couples was "unhealthy" after retweeting an article written by a National Front supporter who claimed there was "no such thing as homophobia".
His remarks come after Rotherham Council were criticised for removing three children from a foster couple because they belong to UKIP.
Mr McKenzie, who believes the publicity surrounding the case will benefit him when Croydon North goes to polls on Thursday, saw no irony in his views on gay adoption or marriage.
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He asked the Advertiser's reporter: "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?
"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." You can read more from the Croydon Advertiser's Croydon North Decides hustings here
When asked why, Mr McKenzie, UKIP's spokesman for culture, media and sport, said that couples might raise the child to be gay.
"There are people out there who bring up their kids encouraging them to believe they are gay themselves," he said.
"If the child is properly heterosexual and they are put in foster homes without any thought or consideration of who they are or what their identity is, that's not right.
"A child might be vehemently against being housed with a gay couple but you wouldn't know until they were older. Placing them with that couple deceives the child.
"If there's no alternative then maybe. If it's a case of being adopted by a gay couple or deportation then what can do you? But if you ask me, I'm not for heterosexual children being adopted by gay couples."
When asked how he would know if a child was gay or heterosexual, Mr McKenzie replied: "I don't want to get into that. It's a touchy subject."
The Advertiser contacted Mr McKenzie after he retweeted a link to an article written by a National Front supporter.
The post relates to a video supporting gay marriage featuring television star and author Stephen Fry.
The author wrote that a "number of his claims are utter nonsense" and that "genuine fear" about homosexuality meant there is "no such thing as homophobia".
"As a National Front type, I fly the Union Flag outside my house and will fly it at half mast, or not at all, if homosexual marriage becomes law," he added.
The message re-tweeted by Mr McKenzie included a link to the article and attacked Labour's Steve Reed and Respect's Lee Jasper for supporting gay marriage. It ended with the message "Vote NF".
There has never been a law saying gay, lesbian or bisexual people cannot adopt or foster children. Prime Minister David Cameron is considering a Commons vote on gay marriage which could happen in January.
Mr McKenzie, who controls his own Twitter account, could not recall the Tweet but stated his opposition to the issue.
He said: "Gay marriage shouldn't be in a place of worship. It's not even something gays are particularly keen on.
"I've nothing against gays. I wouldn't attack a man or a woman because of their sexuality. They have fought very hard for the rights I have seen come to the fore and that says a lot for some of them.
"But personally, as a deeply religious person, I don't advocate gay marriage. For thousands of years we have had marriage between a man and a woman.
"To suddenly introduce gay marriage would be an insult to some gay people. I know a few gay people and they are really not bothered. They aren't concerned. For most of the general public it's not a big issue."
Asked about what he would say to his constituents who supported gay marriage, Mr McKenzie replied: "They are the minority. (Gay couples) who would like to get married are the minority.
"I don't believe that it's right to educate children into believing that gay marriage is a normal situation. As far as I am concerned it's not.
"People can't help their sexuality or how they were born. I can only sympathise with anyone who is gay but to push the boat out and get married doesn't wash with me."
Mr McKenzie then launched into a bizarre rant about people who "pretend" to be gay.
"Some people take on being gay as a sort of fashion," he said.
"Celebrities come out to become more well known, it gets attention. 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."
According to Ladbrokes, UKIP sit third, behind Labour and Respect, going into Thursday's election.
Mr McKenzie believes the party's cause will be helped by Rotherham council's decision to remove three children – who are European migrants – from a UKIP supporting foster couple because the party is "racist".
Education Secretary Michael Gove branded the decision as "indefensible" and made "in the wrong way for the wrong reasons". UKIP leader Nigel Farage condemned the move as "prejudiced".
Mr McKenzie said: "It will help tremendously. Whoever has gone out today to make UKIP look really terrible is wrong and it has back fired. There has been a tremendous sympathy from people on the streets.
"It shows the political elite don't understand what's going on in the outside world and they are a law unto themselves."
Gay rights charity Stonewall described his views as "outdated".
Richard Lane, external affairs officer, said: "It is ironic that Mr McKenzie has expressed these outdated views in the same week his own party colleagues have complained about blinkered attitudes towards UKIP members.
"In all adoption cases the needs of children must be paramount - not the views of a political obsessive.
"We're sure the voters of Croydon North will pass their judgement on Mr McKenzie's ability to represent all constituents living in 21st Century Britain."
David Coburn, chairman of UKIP London, who is openly gay, said Mr McKenzie's comments were not party policy but stopped short of criticising him.
He said: "Winston was most certainly not speaking for UKIP. We are not in favour of gay marriage but we do support equality with civil partnerships.
"We don't believe we should walk across the road and pick a fight with people of faith or trample on tradition over this issue.
"Winston is entitled to his own private view but it's not the view of the party. We are absolutely in favour of gay adoption.
"But like any political party we are a broad church. Winston has the right to his own conscience. I know him, we're chums. He's not homophobic."
He added: "This is nothing like Rotherham. That was people working for the state thinking that anything that isn't socialism is bad. What Winston has said is his personal religious point of view. It's completely different."
When asked what UKIP thought of Winston's belief that gay couples could bring up their children to also be gay, Mr Coburn said: "He said that? That's a mistake. I don't like the sound of that. I haven't read that part of it."