The Vice Mayor of this Arizona town found himself amid a huge controversy this week, after accidentally endorsing the late founder of the ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church.

Ed Farrell, the Vice Mayor of Maricopa, on Monday shared what he thought was a real obituary of late Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.

He captioned the post with the words: “We need more Fred Phelps in this world. May you rest in peace sir.”

Little did he realise, he had actually shared a link from satirical news site The Onion, which was titled ‘Fred Phelps, Man Who Forever Stopped March of Gay Rights, Dead At 84.’

According to the Maricopa Monitor, a commenter asked if he was joking, to which he replied: “No, I’m not kidding! This world needs to get back to the biblical standards that our God made for us. This guy was not afraid to preach it, and I respect that.”

He then went on to say that he was “having a hard time with all of this gay and lesbian rights thing. It has never been an issue until these kind of people made it an issue.”

Going on, as the comment thread grew longer, he said he had asked for a male employee at a health club be sacked, after he took pictures of him in the shower.

He said: “What in the heck makes these people think that they are so entitled?…Yes, he was fired immediately! I don’t get it? It’s sick!”

Following media criticism, Farrell said to the Monitor that he did not really know who Fred Phelps was, and that he was not aware that The Onion was not a real news site.

He said: “I had no idea who this Phelps guy was, I had no idea about the publication the Onion,” Farrell told the Monitor in a phone conversation the next day. “I was just simply scrolling down my news feed and saw this article.

“I had no clue about this guy; he’s an idiot. I can’t believe that I posted what I posted…shame on me.”

Claiming that he has “many, many” gay and lesbian friends, Farrell did however maintain that he thought American needed to return to its “biblical platform”.

He then wrote, “If you read the article, it mentions nothing about him being anti military, which by the way, I support our troops 100 % and thank God every morning for the ones that put their lives and their families on the line for America. All the article mentions is how this guy fought against Gay rights on a biblical platform that God set before us.”