The family of a reality TV star who was suspended for making homophobic remarks in an interview have spoken out to say that they won’t go on without him.

The Robertson family of A&E Network’s Duck Dynasty said they were “disappointed” that Phil Robertson had been suspended by the network for equating homosexuality with bestiality in a GQ interview.

Phil Robertson, known for his appearance on the reality show Duck Dynasty, was placed on “indefinite hiatus” by the A+E network, after he equated homosexuality with bestiality in an interview to GQ.He also questioned why gay men would prefer “a man’s anus” over a vagina and said being gay is a sin.

Robertson had been asked to describe sin by the magazine, and replied: “It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. I mean, come on dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

“Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there,” he continued. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

The statement from the family said: “We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible.

“Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.”

A&E Networks, which produces Duck Dynasty, said in a statement that Robertson’s “personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”

Former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and governor of Alaska Sarah Palin on Wednesday also defended Robertson, as she re-posted a picture of her meeting with the stars of the A&E show on her Facebook page.