The future leader of B.C.'s Conservative Party says sexual orientation is a choice and needs no protection under the B.C. Human Rights Act.

John Cummins made the comments Wednesday on CFAX radio in Victoria, and later at a rally in the capital city.

Cummins has been touring Vancouver Island for the past week with little media attention, but that changed when he commented on measures that specifically protect sexual orientation under B.C.'s Human Rights Act.

"In my view it was not necessary to add another category. People are fully protected under the human rights code," Cummins said on CFAX radio.

Cummins also stated he believes that being gay is a conscious choice.

Comment raise concerns

Groups that represent gay, lesbian and transgender people said they were concerned by the comments.  

Dylyn Wilkinson, a representative from the UVic Pride Collective, said he's been the target of verbal attacks, while other friends have been physically assaulted because of their sexuality.

He hopes B.C. voters will reject Cummins's point of view.

"Someone who's not going to protect their rights, shouldn't be in a position of power, in my opinion."

Cummins was the only candidate to run for the leadership of the B.C. Conservative Party. Members are expected to officially proclaim the former federal MP as their leader at their convention on May 28.