Politicians in Spain have been quick to distance themselves from the comments of the Interior Minister, who said that same-sex marriage laws could mean the human race would not be “guaranteed” to survive.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said last week that, although religious arguments did not hold up in court: “There are rational arguments to back the idea that these marriages shouldn’t have the same protection under the law as normal ones. For example, the survival of the species is not guaranteed.”

His fellow ministers in the conservative Popular Party were quick to distance themselves from the remark, reports El Pais.

“Gay marriage doesn’t guarantee the continuation of the species but neither does celibacy,” said Popular Party deputy Agustin Conde, referring to the celibacy vows taken by priests.

The party’s deputy spokesman Rafael Merino said: “Everyone knows the Interior Minister’s personal opinion on this matter and you also know the party’s opinion with respect to current legislation and to the Constitutional Court’s ruling.”

The Popular Party appealed against Spain’s seven-year old marriage equality laws last year, asking for a change to allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples instead of marriages. The appeal was overturned by the Constitutional Court in November.

Mr Fernandez Diaz continues to oppose Spain’s equal marriage policy despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

In February, he said of marriage equality: “If [the Popular Party] didn’t think that it was unconstitutional we would not have voted against it. We would not have presented amendments and we would not have filed an appeal.”