A reverend has had to change a sign at his Des Moines church from reading “Gay is not okay” after a hundred protesters gathered outside.

The sign was situated outside the non-denominational Fort Des Moines Church of Christ.

It had been put up to publicise a sermon Reverend Mike Demastus was giving on Sunday at which he said people could not be “God-fearing” and be gay.

He asked why people thought homosexuality could be hard-wired at birth, but alcoholism could not be endorsed in the same way, the Des Moines Register reported.

Demastus was forced to amend the sign ahead of the sermon.

He told Fox News: “This has opened up a pretty decent dialogue for those that are willing to have the dialogue. But for those that are just spewing anger and hate and all that kind of stuff, I just think that’s awful. But the reality is I can only speak where God’s word speaks.”

The sign had been vandalised before the reverend changed it to read ‘Adultery is not okay’. Demastus also reportedly received threats.

In 2009, he wrote on his blog that when it came to gays and marriage: “The fact is, it is very proper for society to discriminate against this for its very propogation [sic]. Civilization cannot be advanced by homosexual couples.”

After Iowa lifted the ban on gay marriage, Demastus wrote that some equal marriage supporters “compare very real civil rights struggles of blacks in American society with that of the same-sex marriage movement today. Here’s the deal, I have met many people who used to be ‘gay’ but I have never met anyone who used to be black (except possibly Michael Jackson) […]

“Having someone try to have their identity and class status be defined by what they do with certain body parts is absolutely laughable. And the only way we are going to make head-way in this debate is to not budge one inch on the terms of this debate. We must not let the homosexual movement set the terms.”

In 2010, he wrote: “Those in support of the acceptance of homosexuality have stated that Bible is not clear in it’s view of homosexuals[sic]. On the contrary, I believe it couldn’t be any more clear”, and drew the reader’s attention to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

Patrick Boltinghouse, whose photograph of the sign created a storm on Facebook and led to the protest on Sunday, told the Des Moines Register: “We’re in the 21st Century. You’d think that gays could be part of humanity.”