DUP Health Minister Jim Wells has provoked outrage after claiming children brought up by gay men were more likely to be abused and neglected.
The MLA is said to have made his comments in south Down during the the Westminster election hustings trail.
Alliance candidate for North Down Andrew Muir – who is openly gay – said the Health Minister should be “ashamed’’.
“I am disgusted by the DUP Health Minister’s comments,’’ said Mr Muir.
“Homophobia and bigotry have no place in Northern Ireland.
“The DUP and Minister Wells should be ashamed.’’
However, the Health Minister says his remarks were misrepresented.
He said that during a debate in South Down on Thursday evening, he refused to agree with an audience member that “marriage should be redefined”.
“I oppose the redefinition of marriage. Indeed the assembly has voted three times on this matter and every time a cross party selection of MLAs have supported the current definition of marriage,” he said.
“At the hustings event, I said that marriage was a stable environment to raise children. I am saddened that some people were trying to misrepresent my comments.
“Where there are non-stable relationships involving children, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the children suffer. I make no distinction between anyone who neglects a child on the basis of their sexual orientation.”