Mike Huckabee, the Republican 2012 presidential candidate, has said he does not support gay marriage partly because of the “ick factor”.

The former Arkansas governor, who ran for the presidential nomination in 2008, has a long history of making homophobic remarks.

His comments were revealed by the New Yorker.

He said: “I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes.

“Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.”

Human Rights Campaign vice president Fred Sainz told Politico: “Ick is being fired from a job, being the victim of a hate crime or being bullied at school simply because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“And ick is certainly an appropriate way to describe Mr Huckabee’s mind going to sex when all that we are asking for is our equality. Ick indeed.”

Last April, Mr Huckabee said that allowing gays and lesbians to marry is as inappropriate as legalising incest, polygamy and drug use.

He also condemned gays adopting, saying “children are not puppies.”

In 1992, he said homosexuality was an “aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle.”

He called AIDS patients as “carriers of this plague,” and added they should be isolated.

While Arkansas governor he said: “Marriage has historically never meant anything other than a man and a woman. It has never meant two men, two women, a man and his pet, or a man and a whole herd of pets.”