A Scottish Nationalist Party MP has withdrawn a slur he made comparing gay rights campaigners to Nazis.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, who denied being a “bigot” last week, said of an anti-homophobia logo: “I regarded that as quite intimidating actually because … it reminded me of the pre-war Nazi-type stuff banning things”.

His remarks came after a gay rights supporter emailed all MSPs to ask for their views on gay issues. The email included an image with the word ‘homophobia’ crossed out.

Mr Walker, who responded with simply the word “rubbish”, then told the Sunday Herald that the “ludicrous” logo reminded him of the Nazis.

Gay rights campaigners called the remarks offensive and pointed to the fact that gay men and lesbians were persecuted by the Nazis.

But after the SNP leadership was contacted, Mr Walker withdrew the “intemperate” remark.

He said: “It is important that this [gay marriage] debate is conducted in measured terms, and I have therefore withdrawn the intemperate comment made by me. I will be commenting dispassionately from now on.”

Last week, he said: “There are things called civil partnerships, which I accept, but I’m really concerned about the use of the term ‘gay marriage’ because to me it’s a contradiction in terms and anything that puts homosexual relationships as any way equal to male-female marriages is just not right.”

According to the 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, published last Thursday, 61 per cent of people believe gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

The government has promised to hold a consultation on the issue.