Councillor removed from police scrutiny role over gay adoption comments
A councillor who admitted making comments about gay couples being unsuitable foster parents has been stripped of his role representing Rotherham Council on South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the role of the county's police and crime commissioner.
UKIP Coun Brian Cutts was investigated after it emerged he had made comments at a meeting about adoptions by members of the Lesbian Bi-sexual Gay Transgender community which offended a council officer and an ethics panel recommended he should not represent the council on outside bodies as a result.
A full meeting of Rotherham Council accepted that recommendation, with Coun Cutts removed from his position representing the council on the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.
The same meeting approved Coun Peter Short, another UKIP councillor, as his replacement.
Several councillors spoke to defend Coun Cutts, who accepted he had made comment at a meeting, though there was some dispute as to whether the meeting was active at the time, or had ended.
Coun Robert Elliott said: 'I emphatically disagree with Coun Cutts on fostering. I have never heard him use derogatory or abusive language. Councillor Cutts is a hard working councillor. Surely, we are all allowed our opinions?'
Council leader Chris Read told the meeting: 'I really wanted to be angry but I am not. It is just sad.
'It is not treating people with respect that the standards and ethics committee found fault with. It is the first requirement of the code of conduct.'
He also accused Coun Cutts of a 'pattern' of behaviour, citing 'repeated remarks' during 2014 when he was campaigning during council elections, that the council had 'spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on gay pride events'.
'The numbers were just made up,' said Coun Read.
'He has falsely claimed in this room (the council chamber) the council has replaced the national flag with the rainbow flag. That is a pattern.'
Coun Read also suggested that Coun Cutts should be removed from internal roles within the council as a result of his behaviour.
Coun Brian Steele told the meeting: 'We have no right to offend anyone. We have to represent everyone in this town.'
Coun Cutts produced a Bible and swore and oath before speaking to the meetingÂ '“ something he was told was not necessaryÂ '“ and said that during the debate only one person had made a reference to children.
He said: 'At the meeting, which was closed, there was a comment made.
'My reply to the comment was this: I cannot say how anybody can father a child to two men. That is what I said.
'I have not said anything about LGB and I certainly don't object to them. All I was thinking of at the time, and still am, is to think of the children.
'It is my preference that a child needs the love of a mother,' he said.