LONDON, U.K., April 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons told HuffPost Live last week that he worries a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples could lead to abuses of the institution, including marriages between fathers and their sons.

“It seems to me that now [gay activsts are] fighting for the name,” Irons told HuffPo Live host Josh Zepps. “I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that.”

Zepps asked Irons about his views on gay ‘marriage’ during an interview about the Showtime series “The Borgias,” in which Irons plays the role of a pope.  While Irons said he had no strong feelings either way on the issue, he did worry that unscrupulous people could use a redefinition of marriage to their advantage at society’s expense. 

“Tax wise, it’s an interesting one, because, you see, could a father not marry his son?” Irons asked Zepps.

When Zepps countered that laws against incest should prevent such unions, Irons disagreed.

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“It's not incest between men,” he said. “Incest is there to protect us from having inbreeding. But men don’t breed … so incest wouldn't cover that. But if that was so, if I wanted to pass on my estate without estate duties, I could marry my son and pass on my estate to him.”

After Irons’ comments were widely circulated online and mocked by liberal commentators, the actor posted an open letter on his official website addressing the interview.  He denied criticism that he is “anti-gay,” saying instead he simply wanted to have an honest discussion about the potential unintended consequences of a redefinition of marriage.

“I was taking part in a short discussion around the practical meaning of Marriage, and how that institution might be altered by it becoming available to same-sex partners,” Irons wrote. “Perhaps rather too flippantly I flew the kite of an example of the legal quagmire that might occur if same sex marriage entered the statute books, by raising the possibility of future marriage between same sex family members for tax reasons, (incest being illegal primarily in order to prevent inbreeding, and therefore an irrelevance in non-reproductive relationships).”

He admitted his example was “mischievous,” but said it was “nonetheless valid.”

Same-sex “marriage” is a hot issue in both the U.K., where Irons resides, and in the U.S., where HuffPo Live is based.  In the U.K., parliament is debating a bill recently passed by the House of Commons that would officially redefine marriage to include homosexual couples.  In the U.S., the Supreme Court is debating whether to strike down a federal ban on same-sex ‘marriage,’ thereby legitimizing the unions of homosexual couples who have ‘married’ in the nine states where it is legal and allowing them to receive federal benefits based on marital status.  More than 1,100 U.S. benefits depend on marital status, including estate taxes, Social Security survivor benefits and health benefits for federal employees.