A Republican politician has compared legalising LGBT rights to providing legal protections for paedophiles.

The West Virginia Republican Delegate Tom Fast made the comments in his arguments against an amendment to a bill to ban discrimination against gay couples.

The amendment had been added to a bill which would allow Uber to operate in the city.

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“Once homosexual, bisexual and transgender behaviour is elevated to a protected status, there is nothing to stop bigamy, pedophilia or any other sexual practice from receiving the same protection,” the lawmaker said.

He went on to refer to an article from the Northern Colorado Gazette which claimed that paedophiles were “using the same tactics used by gay rights activists.”

The House of Delegates in West Virginia recently approved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which has been widely condemned for restricting the rights of LGBT people.

Many argued that the bill would allow people to use their “sincerely held religious beliefs” to deny services to others.

“If sexual orientation laws become commonplace, then any person who speaks against sexual practice will be vilified,” Fast said of RFRA.

“Their rights will be thwarted, and their freedom of religion of conscience will be crushed.”