Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is once again stirring controversy after saying child abuse can turn a person gay and homosexuality is a choice.
Craig took part in a debate about legalising same-sex marriage on TV3's The Nation this morning.
"For homosexual men they are statistically far more likely to suffer child abuses as a child, that is one of the tragedies of our country, " he said.
"Is that the sole determinant? Of course not."
Craig said a person's upbringing, role models and lifestyle can also influence whether they chose to be gay.
Labour Party MP Louisa Wall is pushing the bill which would amend the Marriage Act to define it as a union between two people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.
The amendment to the Marriage Act has sparked intense debate since it was pulled from the ballot recently.
Craig said a referendum should be held before any decision is made.
"I think the majority of New Zealanders still want marriage to be man and woman."
Wall, who featured alongside Craig on The Nation debate, hit back at his claims.
When Craig said homosexuality was a choice, she responded: "Homosexuality isn't a choice Colin. People are born the way they are born."
She said a referendum was a costly exercise that would take too long.
Twitter attracted a flurry of outrage over Craig's remarks.
Martyn Bradbury wrote: "Dear Colin Craig, homosexuality is a 'choice' the way breathing is a 'choice'."
Craig hit the headlines with his comments that if same-sex marriage is legalised then polygamy must have a legal standing as well.
"If we are going to be consistent, and love is all that matters, then we will have to accept polygamous relationships need recognising as well," he said.
He also said it wasn't "intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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