A Queensland senate contender in Australia has provoked outrage by calling gay marriage “child abuse” which will lead to “uncontrollable depression and suicide”.

Family First candidate Wendy Francis apparently made the remarks on Twitter yesterday.

Although there is some confusion over whether she posted them, she told an interviewer she agreed with the sentiments behind the tweets and had approved them.

The original remarks have been deleted but screengrabs show she wrote: “Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.”

When followers responded angrily, she added: “Gay marriage = kids with no mothers or no fathers, parent-less generation; uncontrollable depression & suicide. Is that the Aust we want?”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, she confirmed in an interview that she had approved the tweets.

Ms Francis said: “The gay slur thing; I am not homophobic.

“It is one thing to be homosexual; it’s another thing altogether to then impose that on children.

“And I personally do not agree that kids being brought up with a gay couple as surrogate parents is in the best interests of the children.”

She added that allowing gay couples to raise children was a “social experiment” that should be considered “emotional child abuse”.

Family First believes that marriage should be reserved exclusively for heterosexual couples and claims it defends the rights of “Australian families”.

Ms Francis’ webpage says she is also concerned about the impact of popular culture on children.