A gay Brexit Party candidate is taking his Tory rival to task over links with a ‘homophobic’ group
A Brexit Party candidate has emerged as an unlikely defender of the LGBT+ community after a row in which he accused his Conservative rival of being homophobic.
Blackpool South’s Brexit Party representative David Brown raised concerns that Conservative candidate Scott Benton had connections with anti-abortion group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
Although SPUC’s primary focus is on abortion, the group has long campaigned against same-sex marriage, which it believes will lead to the “dismemberment of family structures” throughout society.
The SPUC’s director, Dr Anthony McCarthy, has argued that equal marriage is not in the best interests of children as “sexual fidelity amongst homosexuals, even those in long-term relationships, is comparatively rare”, and “true spousal love” can only be found in heterosexual relationships.
Benton is a member of SPUC and until recently listed this on his Calderdale Council profile page. He was confronted by Brown, who as a gay man strongly objected to the group’s ‘homophobic’ views.
“I am concerned about it not because I am a candidate in the election but because there is a chance this man could become my MP,” Brown told the Blackpool Gazette.
“I moved to Blackpool more than 20 years ago because this town has always had a reputation for being more tolerant to members of the gay community and I would hate that to change.
“Blackpool South has a large and diverse community that proudly embraces its LGBT members, I know this as I am a member of this community. It is very worrying that Scott Benton has links to an organisation which has made these statements.”
He added: “Either the party has made a serious mistake in choosing him as a candidate or it has done so because it agrees with those views.”
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Benton says he is no longer connected to SPUC and he has now updated his page to remove the reference.
He hit back at Brown, telling the Blackpool Gazette that although he still endorsed the group’s anti-abortion stance, he is actually in favour of same-sex marriage, while some members of the Brexit Party clearly aren’t.
“I am [anti-abortion] and make no apology for that, but if there are some other views the Society might endorse, they are not views I share,” he said.
“Some members of the Labour Party have been accused of being antisemitic – should all Labour candidates be accused of that? I am not homophobic and I am passionately in favour of same-sex marriage. I was a member of the SPUC because I am [anti-abortion] but am no longer involved.”
A SPUC spokesman claimed earlier this year that the group is not homophobic, but simply believes that same-sex marriage is not the direct equivalent of heterosexual marriage and should not be treated as such. Lovely.