Jeremy Irons has sparked a furor by his remark that legalizing gay marriage could lead to incest — fathers could marry their sons to avoid paying inheritance tax.
The Oscar-winning actor added that incest laws could not prevent such a union because “it’s not incest between men. Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding but men don’t breed.’’
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Irons — a father of two who has been wed to his second wife, Irish actress Sinead Cusack
, since 1978 — made the remarks on Huff Post Live.
Stonewall — a lesbian, gay and bisexual rights group — told HuffingtonPost.co.uk: “Few people will agree with Jeremy Irons’ bizarre ‘concerns’ about equal marriage.’’
Referring to Irons’ role as Pope Alexander VI in Showtime series “The Borgias,’’ a Stonewall spokesman added: “Sadly his comments do seem to indicate he's taken his role as a Pope … a little too seriously.’’
Twitter followers were equally dismissive, with one commenter complaining: “Jeremy Irons just made me sick to my stomach. Disgusting logic.’’
Irons, 64, also said he feared the quest for same-sex marriage could hurt the institution of marriage.
“It seems to me that now they're fighting for the name,” he said. “I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that.’’
Still, he insisted, he “doesn’t have a strong feeling either way” on gay marriage.
Irons, whose movies include “Reversal of Fortune’’ and “The Man in the Iron Mask,’’ said he wished all couples living together "the best of luck in the world."
“Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great," said Irons. "It's lovely to have someone to love. I don't think sex matters at all. What it's called doesn't matter at all.’’
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