A Tasmanian Family First Senate candidate who caused a social media storm when he referred to the Orlando shootings in an anti-gay tweet has apologised.
Peter Madden is running for the Senate on an anti-gay marriage platform.
In a tweet about the massacre on an LGBT nightclub yesterday, he said while the shooting was abhorrent, the gay marriage agenda posed a “real and present danger” to Australian children.
The tweet prompted a barrage of criticism on social media.
Mr Madden told 936 ABC Hobart he was responding to someone who had criticised his campaign and said he would attend a vigil in Hobart later this week to remember the Orlando victims.
“I absolutely condemn the massacre in the gay club, this is absolutely wrong and I’m praying for the victims,” he said.
“I had no idea that it would offend so many people.
“I don’t want to offend people, this is a sensitive time.”
He said he had apologised about the offence he caused on a national news network.
Mr Madden had previously been criticised for his use of a trailer with a billboard reading “homosexual marriage = gay sex-ed for children”.
“That message is based on a lot of research,” he said.
“I wrote a paper on it a number of years ago which I have been distributing.”
He said both sides of the gay marriage argument needed to be heard.
“If one side is shut down by saying ‘hate speech, hate speech, hate speech’ then both sides cannot be heard,” Mr Madden said.