Clergyman apologises over call to tattoo gay people

A Church of England clergyman who wrote that gay men should be forced to have "sodomy" warnings tattooed on their bodies issued a "full and complete" apology for his remarks today.

The Rev Peter Mullen said his remarks were "injudicious" and had caused offence.

"I did not intend to cause any upset but I realise that the remarks were injudicious and I have caused offence. I want to issue an apology," he said.

In a statement, he said: "I did not intend to cause offence when I made some joking remarks about homosexuals.

"I was not actually meaning to criticise individual homosexual persons, but the promoters of gay culture.

"However, my remarks have caused offence and for this I am sorry and make a full and complete apology."

Mr Mullen, 66, who is rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the City of London, made the comments about homosexual practices on his internet blog.

He wrote: "It is time that religious believers began to recommend... discouragements of homosexual practices after the style of warnings on cigarette packets.

"Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS."

In the same blog, Mr Mullen called for all gay pride parades, which he branded "obscene", to be outlawed.

He also condemned, in the form of a poem, the blessing of two gay priests at a "wedding" performed earlier this year in a City of London church.

The comments by Mr Mullen on his blog have been removed after talks with officials at the Diocese of London.

The Diocese of London issued a statement yesterday describing the comments as "highly offensive."

The remarks were also condemned by gay rights campaign group Stonewall.

Mr Mullen has the title of chaplain to the London Stock Exchange.

But an LSE spokesman said yesterday that the title was a historical one and he had no formal links with them.