A UKIP councillor has come under fire after voicing controversial opinions linking anti-social behaviour problems to same-sex marriage.

Tom Aldridge, a UKIP councillor for Taunton Deane Borough Council’s Lyngford ward, aired his concerns at a Community Scrutiny meeting on January 9.

After the meeting heard a police report regarding anti-social behaviour in the town, 87-year-old Cllr Aldridge implied drug and social behaviour in Taunton would cease to be a problem if the country reverted back to only allowing heterosexual marriage.

He said: “It’s probably not a very popular observation, but it’s simply this: that long-term, if we could get back to marriages being the sort of standard, and I’m talking about heterosexual marriage as the standard, throughout the country, as it was say 50 years ago, most of these social behaviour and drug problems and all the rest of them would just disappear.”

Recording of Cllr Tom Aldridge's comments at Taunton Deane Borough Council's Scrutiny Committee 

Cllr Aldridge, Taunton Deane’s only UKIP representative, stood by his comments after the meeting.

“It’s simple really,” he added. “Going back to after WW2, marriage was the norm - our behaviour now is not.

“Society was better, more cohesive. Family, meaning a mother, father and children, was the basis of society, marriage holds it together.

“An article by Charles Murray in 2000 in the Sunday Times explained it. We were a more civilised country. We didn’t have an ‘underclass’, with that meaning we didn’t have high rates of male unemployment, violent crime or illegitimacy.”

READ MORE: Council reacts to 'unacceptable' comments on same-sex marriage

When asked if same-sex marriages would have the same effect as a heterosexual marriage, he replied: “How can it? It’s about reproducing.”

In response to points made about same-sex couples being able to have families through adoption and treatments such as IVF, he said: “That’s rubbish. In most cases of children being mistreated, or in some cases, murdered, it is the ‘irregular’ relationships, the ‘reconstructed’ families.”

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Paul Roberts OBE, CEO of LGBT Consortium

Taunton man Paul Roberts OBE, chief executive of LGBT consortium, a national charity supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations, said Cllr Aldridge’s suggested solution was ‘non-sensical’ and that views like his stem from a ‘fear of the unknown’.

“It is thoroughly disappointing to hear someone in a position of power talking in this way,” he said.

“It will do nothing to help reduce levels of anti-social behaviour as Cllr Aldridge suggests, only create further divisions between an already divided society.

“Much of the prejudices we all hold link back to fear of the unknown. If we don’t see and have the chance to experience and understand how different parts of society function in daily life then it is likely we will remain fearful of them.

“If we learn more about each other and focus on the sheer level of similarities that we share, rather than difference, then I think we would be far more likely to see a reduction in anti-social behaviour.

“To suggest that simply having heterosexual marriage is the solution is absolutely nonsensical.”

Mr Roberts added that Cllr Aldridge’s notion that marriage is about reproducing was misconceived.

“Me and my partner being a same-sex couple makes no difference to the love we have for each other,” he said.

“Love is the uniting factor when it comes to marriage and relationships, not reproducing.

“I would challenge Cllr Aldridge and others to get out there and spend time with the diversity of families that makeup our wonderful town of Taunton and the surrounding areas.

“Whether that is a same-sex family, a family with a different ethnic background or a single parent, let’s focus on what brings us together and not what makes us all different.

“With the trust this would build between communities, we can then look at the root causes of anti-social behaviour and address them collectively.”

A UKIP spokesman said Cllr Aldridge’s comments were his personal opinions and not UKIP policy.

Taunton Deane Borough Council said that Cllr Aldridge was told shortly after the meeting that his comments were “entirely inappropriate” and unacceptable.