Anti-equal marriage former Tory candidate Maria Hutchings, who stood for the Conservative Party in the recent Eastleigh by-election and came third, took to Twitter today in a heated argument around equal marriage and civil unions.

Engaging with several gay, trans and human rights supporters, Hutchings asserted that she was for civil unions, but against equal marriage.

After challenging a Twitter user who asked her whether she was for or against equal marriage, Hutchings replied that she was for civil partnerships, but against equal marriage, saying “All love is good!”.

She went on to say that she was “pro civil partnerships against same sex marriage,” and questioned whether a marriage ceremony needed to be religious in order to be “bona fide”.

Prior to that, she engaged with Guardian columnist Patrick Strudwick, who responded to Hutchings’ tweet that all immigrants should be made to pay for full health screening on entering the UK.

Strudwick replied that she was “Tory evil”, to which Hutchings accused him of making an assumption about her based on his “gender perception” of her, because he was “a strong campaigner on same sex rights”.

Strudwick responded to her assertion that she was pro-gay rights through her support of civil unions, saying: “All love is good? Yet apparently not good enough for you to be considered worthy of marriage rights.”

After he said Hutchings was “politically irrellevant”, she responded that his comment was “pathetic”.

Trans activist Hannah Buchanan also weighed in on the argument following Hutchings tweet which said: “Patrick just googled your profile- now I know why you really think I’m evil – shame!”

Hutchings replied that she was “hugely supportive of the trans-gender community. All love is good,” to which Buchanan said her “trans status is irrelevant in this context”.

Hutchings replied: “Love not anger Hannah! Calm down.”

Other Twitter users also joined in with the discussion, some challenging Hutchings on her anti-equal marriage stance. One user tweeted in her support, asking: “What is wrong with the left of Britain? Labelling people and organisations evil simply because they disagree.”

Before tackling another argument with Twitter users over the “state [they] left the country in post [John] Major era”, Hutchings finished by saying: “After this immense cultural storm cannot wait to see how many same sex marriages we will see!”

Hutchings, who came third in the Eastleigh by-election with 10,559 votes was a controversial candidate for the Tories. Her opposition to equal marriage surfaced last month when she revealed that had she already been elected as an MP, she would have joined the 136 Tories who voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill last month.

In today’s argument, she said that the biggest lesson she had learned fromt Eastleigh was that it was “Imperative for unbiased political education [for] 16-18 yr olds”.