A former MSP who said gay relationships are not in “any way equal” to straight ones has been jailed for 12 months after being convicted of attacking three former wives and a step-daughter.

Bill Walker was found guilty of 23 charges of assault, and one breach of the peace, in August at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

On Friday Sheriff Kathrine Mackie said the former independent MSP for Dunfermline was in “extreme denial” about his actions and had shown no remorse.

The 71-year-old initially tried to remain as a Member of the Scottish Parliament after being kicked out of the Scottish National Party – but he finally resigned his Dunfermline seat earlier this month.

In 2011 Walker signed a motion stating that no one should be “forced to be involved with” same-sex marriages.

Walker told the Dunfermline Press: “There are things called civil partnerships, which I accept, but I’m really concerned about the use of the term ‘gay marriage’ because to me it’s a contradiction in terms and anything that puts homosexual relationships as any way equal to male-female marriages is just not right.”

He added: “I have been called a bigot and all sorts of names, saying I live in the dark ages.

“The irony is I got married a few weeks ago. Needless to say it was to a woman!”

“By saying that same-sex relationships are not in any way equal to male/female ones, Bill Walker is expressing homophobic prejudice,” the Equality Network said in response.

“His remarks are an affront to many of his constituents, and not just the LGBT ones. He is free to express his opinions, but must expect those opinions to be criticised if they are prejudiced and offensive.”