Veteran British actor Jeremy Irons wishes he had kept his views on gay marriage to himself after causing controversy by making bizarre comments about the hot topic during a recent interview.
I don't know what the difference is
The Man in the Iron Mask star hit headlines earlier this month (Apr13) after sitting down for a video chat with The Huffington Post, in which he claimed that introducing a law allowing same-sex couples to officially wed in his native U.K. could lead to fathers marrying their sons in a bid to avoid the country's heavy inheritance tax duties.
He told the interviewer, "Could a father not marry his son? It seems to me that now they're fighting for the name. I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that".
He then added, "I don't have a strong feeling either way. Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great. It's lovely to have someone to love".
His remarks sparked a backlash from some gay rights campaigners and prompted Irons to pen an open letter to fans to clear up the scandal, insisting he was not "anti-gay" and was only raising a "mischievous argument" that was "nonetheless valid".
The actor now admits he should have declined to comment on the sensitive subject matter because he's not fully informed on the issue, which is currently being debated in the British Parliament.
He tells the BBC, "I actually don't know the difference between a civil partnership, which we have in this country, and marriage, which is what the government just voted on. I don't know what the difference is. I felt I should've buttoned my lip".
Civil partnerships, allowing unions between same-sex couples, were made legal in the U.K. in 2004, but the status is not recognised internationally and does not grant gay people all of the same financial rights as those who are considered married.
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