14/06/2016 9:55 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST

Family First Candidate Apologises For Gay Marriage Tweet Following Orlando Shooting

Candidate sorry gays were killed, but wouldn't want them to marry.

Family First senate candidate Peter Madden has apologised for a tweet linking the Orlando massacre to gay marriage after he was greeted with a barrage of criticism on Monday.

After a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Madden first sent his condolences to the gay community on social media.

But less than one hour later the senate candidate suggested while he condemned the massacre, he would also continue to condemn gay rights and campaign to deprive them of the right to marry.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, Madden said his tweet warning of the "real and present dangers of the gay marriage agenda" was in response to a critic of his campaign.

Madden, who is running for a Senate spot in Tasmania, said he never intended to offend anyone and will be attending a vigil for the Orlando victims later this week.

Forty nine people were killed, and more than 50 injured in America's deadliest mass shooting during the early hours of Sunday morning. You can read what we know about the victims here.

"I absolutely condemn the massacre in the gay club, this is absolutely wrong and I'm praying for the victims," Madden said on the ABC program.

"I had no idea that it would offend so many people. I don't want to offend people, this is a sensitive time."

Madden's anti-gay marriage position is at the centre of his campaign.

The Family First candidate apologised on social media following the onslaught of criticism and after apologising on radio on Tuesday morning, has since tweeted about unfairness in the gay marriage debate between those for and against reform.

Here's how it all unfolded: