27/11/2012 06:36 GMT | Updated 27/11/2012 06:45 GMT

Ukip Candidate Winston McKenzie Criticised After Gay Adoption Comments

Winston McKenzie, a Ukip candidate for Croydon North, has sparked outrage after insisting it was "not healthy" for a child to be adopted by a gay couple.

Gay rights charity Stonewall said McKenzie's comments were "outdated", calling him a "political obsessive", while adoption charities highlighted the advantages and importance of gay people being able to foster and adopt.

McKenzie spoke out after a row erupted over a couple in Rotherham who had their foster children taken away, amid fears their membership of the UK Independence party made them racist.

Former boxer Winston McKenzie

McKenzie told the Croydon advertiser on Monday: "If you couldn't look after your child and you had to put them up for adoption would you honestly want your child to be adopted by a gay couple?

"Would you seriously want that or a heterosexual family? Which would be more healthy for the child?

"A caring loving home is a heterosexual or single family. I don't believe (a gay couple) is healthy for a child."

He has since been tweeting updates on his position, describing the article as a "set up"

Andy Leary-May, director of New Family Social, a UK charity for LGBT adopters and foster carers told the Huffington Post UK: “Mr Winston McKenzie seems to understand very little about the care system generally.

"Regardless of his beliefs, every one of his concerns about children being adopted by lesbian and gay people has been disproven time and time again.

“These antiquated views discount the fact that LGBT people are adopting and caring for hundreds of children who need the love, understanding and skills they offer, and have been for years. The debate has moved on, and Mr McKenzie's comments are both outdated and offensive."

McKenzie has come under fire for his comments on gay adoption

His views were echoed on Twitter where users have been vehement in their condemnation of McKenzie describing his views as "upsetting" and calling the former boxer a "disgrace".

The British Association for Adoption & Fostering said in a statement: Evidence is beginning to emerge the rapid development children make when placed in gay and lesbian households - similar to that children make in heterosexual households. The success of the changes made to the law strongly suggest that this is a development to be built on."

Ukip has attempted to distance itself from McKenzie, who is the party's spokesman for culture, media and sport, while not criticising his comments outright.

David Coburn, Chairman of Ukip London, who is openly gay, said in a statement posted on Facebook that McKenzie does not represent the views of the party and that they supported gay marriage.

He added: "we are categorically not against gay adoption; what we do have a problem with is that Catholic adoption agencies have been banned for opposing gay adoption. The only thing that matters is that the children receive a safe and loving home."