A Daily Mail columnist who has used her time at the national newspaper to attack gay rights, including comparing equal marriage to bestiality, and saying that gay people “brainwash children”, has left her regular column at the publication.

Melanie Phillips will no longer write her Monday column, which has in the past been used to suggest that equal marriage would lead to people “marrying their hamsters”, and to say that gay people want to “brainwash children”.

A source for the Daily Mail told Media Guardian that “Melanie is not going to be carrying on with the column but she’s certainly not leaving the Mail. The column is moving at some point shortly as part of a revamp of the middle pages of the paper.”

On 14 February 2011, PinkNews wished a Happy Valentine’s Day to Phillips, as she used the romance of the day to urge against giving gay couples the right to marry.

She took the occasion to suggest that gay marriage could soon lead to people marrying their hamsters.

Phillips previously provoked the wrath of Twitter by claiming that the government is backing efforts to “brainwash” children about homosexuality.

In a column on plans to encourage teachers to be inclusive of LGBT people, Ms Phillips said they were an “abuse of childhood”, “the new McCarthyites” and part of a campaign to “destroy normal sexual behaviour”.

Ms Phillips also implied that homosexuality would become “mandatory”.

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She has argued in the past that the gay rights agenda undermines marriage and has called homosexuality a “lifestyle choice”.

In 2009, she spoke at gay networking event Village Drinks, debating lesbian MP Angela Eagle on free speech.

She argued: “Equality has become an Orwellian word. We are in grave danger of turning thought into crime.

“Is it wrong to criminalise the giving of offence; is it right to criminalise disapproval?”

Phillips in November 2011 took on strong competition at the Stonewall Awards to become the charity’s Bigot of the Year.

She was chosen by the Stonewall supporters as the figure to most notably have “gone out of their way to harm, hurt or snub lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the last year”.

For those readers who will miss Phillips’ column, a range of dashing iPhone, iPad and Kindle cases, baseball caps and tshirts are available from her website, Electric Media, which read ‘Melanie Phillips: Unbound’, the name of her blog.

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