Union J star Jaymi Hensley, has opened up to PinkNews.co.uk about his strong support from fans for being open about being gay, and that he is excited about the equal marriage debate in Parliament, as he feels strongly that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

The 22-year-old star said the secret to his strong backing by fans, particularly his female following, was that he is honest about being gay, and said he did not want to “be a liar”, by hiding his sexuality on the X-Factor.

Following the band’s performance at As One in the Park last weekend, Hensley told PinkNews.co.uk: “I’m massively excited about the debate in Parliament I think it’s a great thing and about time too! I am in a happy stable relationship and I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to get married like anyone else. There are people out there who aren’t in loving relationships that just use marriage too lightly and just get married because they can and I think there are a lot of gay couples out there who wish they could get married that haven’t been able to.”

He added: “David Cameron is right, when you are younger you dream of getting married and having a family but when you realise that you are gay you think that this dream is taken away from you. So from a young age to realise that you can get married and have kids and live a ‘normal life’ with a same-sex partner is going to change the way this country is and change attitudes to same-sex relationships.”

Hensley also reflected on how being gay has affected his career in the music industry, putting an emphasis on honesty as the reason he has a strong following.

“I’ve got a bigger female following than some of the other boys because I’m gay. Everybody loves a gay best friend. I’m so honest with my fans and they’ve totally backed me. Gay fans have also said that I’ve helped them come out to their parents.”

“You shouldn’t have to hide. I was in the X-Factor and I had to give myself to the nation 10 weeks in a row and I wasn’t about to be a liar, I’ve never hid [sic] anything in my life. I don’t see how having a record deal should change me as a person. I’m all about coming out and proud!”

Hensley, after Union J placed fourth in the X Factor competition, followed the advice of his mentor Louis Walsh and revealed that he is gay, and has a long term boyfriend, back in November. “I’m gay and I’ve never been happier!”, he said.