A Christian organisation has published an article suggesting America’s increasing support for marriage equality can be linked to the consumption of pornography.

In an article on the Witherspoon Institute website, Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, cites a Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy article titled “What Is Marriage?” in order to bolster his claim that “contrary to what we might wish to think, young adult men’s support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and a noble commitment to fairness”.

He said: “It may be, at least in part, a by-product of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts.”

Regnerus, a controversial Christian academic, then goes on to debate the wider issues of pornography by remarking how it never seems to be about procreation:

“Given that I study the sexual and relationship lives of emerging adults, I couldn’t help but note the contrast between this description of marital sexuality and how sex is portrayed in modern pornography.

“Indeed, the latter redirects sex — by graphic depiction of it — away from any sense of it as a baby-making activity. Porn also undermines the concept that in the act of sexual intercourse, we share our body and whole self … permanently and exclusively”.

He continues: “On the contrary, it reinforces the idea that people can share their bodies but not their inmost selves, and that they can do so temporarily and (definitely) not exclusively without harm.”

The Witherspoon Institute, which published the article, is described by an activist website as a New Jersey-based non-profit Christian organisation with ties to the Family Research Council, a notorious homophobic group.

Witherspoon’s mission is to “enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies.”

Earlier this year, Regnerus claimed in a study that children born to parents who had a gay relationship have more problems in adult life than those born to married, straight parents.

Despite widespread condemnation over the study’s methodology, the University of Texas remained supportive of the academic’s work.