Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to refer to gay people as “people who choose different lifestyles” during a TV interview.
The Tory leader made the slip while appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, after the launch of the first posters of the election campaign.
He was asked about the possibility of a coalition with Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party if the Tories fail to win a majority – and addressed the long string of controversies within the party.
He said: “They’ve clearly got some politicians in their party who’ve got some extraordinary views, there’s no doubt about it.
“Day after day, week after week they’re having to expel people because they’ve said appalling things about different sorts of people, and people who choose different lifestyles – you’ve got people who think that gay marriage caused floods.
“They’ve clearly got some issues, but what I choose to focus on is the positive vision I’ve got for the country.”
Diversity campaigner Andy Woodfield condemned the PM’s comments, tweeting: “@David_Cameron describes same-sex relationships as a ‘lifestyle choice’ on @MarrShow am I wrong to be offended? #LGBT”
Labour councillor Kate Butler responded: “You’re not wrong; he is.”
The leader told the Mail on Sunday: “Lots of people have invited me and sent me lovely letters saying if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to marry the person I love.
“But I haven’t been to one yet. I’m sure I will soon.”