UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, who previously claimed he would not expel UKIP members who call gay people “disgusting,” says same-sex marriages are “illiberal” and lack “common sense” because religious groups may be forced to perform same-sex weddings.

Nigel Farage criticised the legalisation of same-sex marriage, which received royal assent in July, in an interview with YouTube channel ChatPolitics.

He said that passing same-sex marriage into law could prove to be “profoundly illiberal” because of the “power of the European Court of Human Rights.”

He said: “There is a very real legal risk that you could finish up with faith communities being forced to conduct such ceremonies which would be illiberal because it would stop people pursuing some of their own beliefs”.

Mr Farage also said there was no official UKIP stance on same-sex marriage as the matter had not been discussed, although a statement on the party’s website favours civil partnerships as a “common sense” solution.

The website reads: “Civil partnerships represent an entirely common sense way of allowing gay men and women in our country to register in a formal way their long term commitment to one another”.

It adds: “Gay marriage is an entirely different thing altogether.”

In May, Nigel Farage surprised political commentators when he said Margaret Thatcher’s “open-mindedness” was responsible for today’s gay tolerance in British society.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the UKIP leader praised former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died this year aged 87, for today’s progressive “atmosphere to gay people in Britain,” saying: “I have to say that Margaret Thatcher of course helped enormously with her open-mindedness.”

When reminded of her support for Section 28, which previously banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools, Mr Farage said: “That was done because she feared some of the very, very extreme left-wing elements within the teaching union – but Margaret Thatcher, her period as our prime minister was one I think of real advancement for gay people in society they were not discriminated against the way they had been by nearly every prime minister before.”

In April, The name of a UK Independence Party candidate in Staffordshire appeared on an election leaflet that mocks bisexuals, blasts the government’s same-sex marriage bill, and warns that it will lead to explicit “Homosexual Sex Education”.

The statements include: “Explicit sex education is occurring in our children’s schools. When the ‘Gay Marriage Bill’ becomes law, explicit ‘Homosexual Sex Education’ will have to be taught to keep schools within the law of the 2010 Equality Bill. In 2011, £203,508 of your money was given by the Con/Lib Dem coalition to further promote homosexual education in schools.”

“Teachers who cannot teach that homosexuality is an equal lifestyle to heterosexuality will be sacked.”

“Although the legal age of consent in the UK is 16, you will be aware that prosecutions are rarely brought for under-age sex when the victims are 13 to 15-years-old. On ‘equality’ grounds, the homosexual abuse of children will be treated in a similar way.”