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A spokesman for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) told Metro newspaper that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children because it amounts to “child abuse.”

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Winston McKenzie (pictured), the party’s culture spokesperson, argued that “it is a violation of a child’s human rights because that child has no opportunity to grow up under normal circumstances.” McKenzie then told Metro that “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.”

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McKenzie also singled out celebrities who come out as gay as having started “a fashion.”

The former boxer’s controversial comments couldn’t have come at a worse time for the UKIP, which has greatly struggled to gain mainstream acceptance in the political arena and is dealing with the Rotterham council removing foster children from a couple because they were UKIP party members. The brother and his two sisters have been sent to live in separate homes, according to the UK Daily Mail.

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The UKIP immediately performed damage control over the remarks. “We entirely, wholeheartedly support equal rights for couples regardless of their sexuality,” said UKIP London Chairman David Couburn, who ironically is gay himself.

Ben Summerskill, a member of gay rights charity Stonewall, said that “These 19th-century views are not acceptable in the 21st century.” McKenzie’s comments also come at a time when the party is positioning itself for the UK upcoming elections, with UKIP leader Nigel Farange leading the charge against Tory leader David Cameron.

McKenzie is running for an MP spot in the Croydon North by-election on Thursday. Check out his campaign video below.