Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley Jr told a Christian television channel that same-sex marriage is an “attack on society”, adding that he wants to distance himself from his media portrayal as a “hateful person”.

Prior to his grilling on Question Time last week, in which he was asked about his 2007 statement that he is “pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism“, Mr Paisley appeared on Christian channel Revelation TV.

In the interview, published online on 8 May, Mr Paisley says: “I had said very strong things about homosexuality and sexual sin, but I was only trying to refer to the fact that whilst it’s very clear, black and white, what is a sin and what is not. In terms of life, you have to live in the grey with people.”

He argued that the portrayal of his views on homosexuality had been overly harsh: “I was being characterised by the media in a particular way – that I am a hateful person, and that I hate people just because they’re different… I was trying to suggest that that’s not the case. These are my views, they haven’t changed – but I do recognise that life is grey.”

Mr Paisley went on to consider what he believes are the most significant challenges for Northern Ireland. His first response is same-sex marriage.

He said: “First of all, I think there are challenges on the morality of the nation. I think the huge and significant change that the Government is pursuing with regards to marriage is significantly damaging and I think that is a challenge which goes right to the structure of society. Society is made up largely by people who begat marriage to begat family to begat society. Whenever you start to challenge or unpick that, you affect society.

“I think that we’re going to see other challenges; I think we are going to see a very decisive attempt over the years ahead to reduce the age of consent for sexual relations – again, that’s an attack on society.

“I think that will flow from this change to the marriage law. I think there’s going to be another attempt to try and introduce euthanasia in the United Kingdom; another attack on society.

“You know, society isn’t God. God has his ways for people to live their life and if you stray outside those boundaries, ultimately you impact on how society is formed,” he added.

Last Thursday, responding to a question by David Dimbleby, Mr Paisley said: “I am repulsed by many things.The actions, and not specifically the individuals. I am repulsed by people who are not homosexual as well sometimes.”

In April the DUP blocked Northern Ireland’s legislation to legalise equal marriage in the country’s National Assembly.

In a comment piece for PinkNews today, Gary Spedding reflects on homophobia in Northern Ireland, and the attitude of the Democratic Unionist Party towards gay rights.