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Magistrate quits after linking gays to paedophiles in interview with Steps star

Jessica Geen April 20, 2009

A Welsh magistrate who aired his homophobic views in a television documentary has quit.

Byron Butler was stopped in the street by former Steps singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins, who was making a programme for an edition of BBC Wales’ Week In Week Out about his experiences growing up gay in the Welsh valleys.

When stopped by Watkins as part of a series of vox pops interviews, Butler, 68, was asked about his attitudes to gays.

He said: “We haven’t got much time for them.”

When asked to continue, he said: “Well, I think probably it’s a suspicion of the mainstream that they perhaps will interfere with young people and so on and that’s historically been the case.

“That is the danger. Paedophiles, not necessarily but they do, don’t they? That’s the reality.”

The Daily Mail reports that after a 12-month inquiry following complaints from viewers who recognised Butler as a senior magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan, he resigned.

At the time of filming, Watkins said: “I was dumb-founded by his comments – and I was even more shocked when I found out he is a magistrate sitting in judgement on people.

“There is no way I believe he can be fair and impartial with people when he makes comments about gay people being paedophiles. It is just so outrageous.

“There is absolutely no evidence to back up what he says and it is very offensive. The world has changed and Wales has changed so much.”

Watkins publicly came out in January 2007 just before entering the Celebrity Big Brother house.

He revealed that he came out to his bandmates and family when he was 21, but was fearful of the reaction of fans and local people in his home village of Cwmparc in the Rhondda Valley.

The controversial fundamentalist Christian Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, compared Mr Watkins to mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer in the documentary.

Green, who is notorious for his protests at gay Pride events, called him vile and said he would pray for him.

More: Wales

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