Jeremy Irons claims gay marriage laws could lead to a father marrying his son

Jeremy Irons has given a bizarre interview expressing fears that the battle for equal rights could “debase” marital law. The 64-year-old actor said he “doesn’t have a strong feeling either way” on gay marriage but suggested it could be manipulated to allow fathers to pass on their estates to their sons without being taxed.

He said: “Could a father not marry his son?"

When reminded about laws which prohibit sexual relationships between family members, he responded: “It's not incest between men", adding: “Incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed."

The comments have prompted astonishment on social networking sites.

Irons told 'The Huffington Post' that he wished "everybody whose living with one other person the best of luck in the world because it's fantastic”. He said: “Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great.

"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."

The father-of-two, who has been married to Irish actress Sinead Cusack for 34 years, also weighed in on the debate about same sex marriage versus civil partnerships.

"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."

Irons is no stranger to controversy. He was recently forced to defend comments he made in an interview 18 months ago in which he was quoted as saying: "If a man puts his hand on a woman's bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It's communication."

He claimed he had been "misquoted" by the 'Radio Times' and had actually said that "any self-respecting woman would tell you to f--- off".