UKIP leadership hopefuls includes 3 LGBT people and 2 anti-LGBT candidates
UKIP has announced its final list of leadership candidates, which includes three out LGBT people and two people who have opposed LGBT rights.
David Kurten and John Rees Evans have both vocally opposed LGBT rights.
And even Anne Marie Waters, openly lesbian, has had strong links to the far-right.
PinkNews broke the news earlier this week that David Kurten, an elected member of the London Assembly and a candidate for UKIP leader, had made comments linking homosexuality to childhood sexual abuse.
Mr Kurten, who is backed by influential Leave.EU donor Arron Banks, had claimed: “[Sexuality] is unlikely to be fixed at birth. Study after study also shows that the incidence of homosexuality is much higher among people who have been sexually abused as children.
“This is an issue which needs to be addressed but is not because of political correctness.”
Kurten also vowed to fight for a new ban on same-sex marriage, which threatens to void the thousands of existing same-sex marriages in the UK.
Jonathan Rees Evans last year claimed a gay donkey raped his horse and has lost out in his bid to lead to the UK Independence Party in November.
Rees-Evans, who is best known for claiming that a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse, came last with just 2775 votes. Paul Nuttall was elected leader with 9622 votes, with Suzanne Evans in second place.
The outspoken activist made the claim in 2014.
They are joined by three out-LGBT candidates, Peter Whittle, David Coburn and Anne Marie Waters.
Openly gay man Peter Whittle , the party’s only other elected Assembly Member this week condemned the candidacy of David Kurten.
Mr Whittle said: “This is so wrong on every level. Neither I, nor any of the gay friends and colleagues I have known over 35 years, were sexually abused.”
In a statement, the leaders of the LGBT* in UKIP group said: “Today, LGBT* in UKIP have been made aware of the disgraceful, offensive, homophobic and transphobic comments published by PinkNews quoting David Kurten.
“We call for those who are vetting the leadership candidates to be made aware of these remarks and that they are taken into consideration whilst the panel determine the candidates application.
“Further to this, we call for immediate suspension pending full investigation with purpose to review such comments as a representative of the party, not only as an Education spokesperson but also a London Assembly member.”
An assistant to gay UKIP MEP David Coburn earlier this year kept his job despite being convicted of sex offences.
Arthur Thackeray was placed on the sex offenders register on (Monday 13 February) for ten offences he committed between 2007 and 2015.
Mr Coburn last year said he was “considering” running for the UKIP leadership.
The MEP was forced to deny being racist in 2015 after comparing Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza. He also compared then-SNP leader Alex Salmond to dictator Robert Mugabe.
Despite being gay, the politician is a fierce critic of the gay rights movement, regularly claiming that same-sex marriage supporters are “equality Nazis” – and that the Lib Dems and Labour want to ban him from having sex.
In the run-up to the Scottish elections, Mr Coburn blamed the EU for his broken toaster and launched a manifesto pledging to make ‘political correctness’ in schools illegal.
Anne Marie Waters, who served as deputy leader of a far-right anti-Islam group is also running to be UKIP leader.
Waters has been a prominent activist in the anti-Islam Pegida movement, and has also praised far-right leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders.
She served as deputy leader of the UK arm of Pegida, the far-right and anti-Islam group partly set up by Tommy Robinson which founded the English Defence League.
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Other leaders of Pediga, in its native Germany, have been accused of using the “battle rhetoric” of Nazis and causing “violence and brutality”.
Waters was selected as UKIP’s candidate for Lewisham East, south London, in the General Election, but later removed due to her past involvement in the far-right Pediga organisation.
Last weekend she spoke alongside Tommy Robinson at a rally in Manchester organised by the Gays Against Sharia movement, which was accused of exploiting the Orlando shooting to promote hate.
They are also joined by David Allen, Jane Collins, Marion Mason, Aidan Powlesland, and Ben Walker.
Former UKIP leader Paul Nutall resigned as the party’s leader after a disastrous result in the June 8 General Election.
This is the third leadership contest in a year. After Nigel Farage stepped down last year, Diane James took over.