- Welsh Secretary David Jones made comments on ITV Wales' Face-To-Face
- Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle said the 60-year-old was 'deluded'
- Gay rights campaigners say Mr Jones should apologise for 'insulting' remark
By Tamara Cohen
PUBLISHED: 11:52 EST, 15 February 2013 | UPDATED: 19:53 EST, 15 February 2013
'Deluded': David Jones MP faced a deluge of criticism for his views on gay parenting
Gay couples are incapable of bringing up children safely, a Cabinet minister claimed yesterday.
Same-sex partnerships could not provide a ‘warm and safe environment’ to raise a family, said Welsh Secretary David Jones.
The Tory MP, who voted against this month’s gay marriage Bill, added: ‘I regard marriage as an institution that has developed over many centuries, essentially for the provision of a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children, which is clearly something that two same-sex partners can’t do.
‘Which is not to say that I’m in any sense opposed to stable and committed same-sex partnerships.’
The married father of two later insisted he was not homophobic and had gay people in his life ‘who are important to me’.
In a statement, Mr Jones said he was not opposed to gay couples adopting children and added: ‘I simply sought to point out that, since same-sex partners could not biologically procreate children, the institution of marriage was one that, in my opinion, should be reserved to opposite sex partners.’
His comments drew a storm of protests from politicians and gay rights groups.
Andrew White, the director of Stonewall in Wales, called the remarks ‘offensive and inaccurate’.
‘There are many different types of family in Wales today, including many same-sex couples raising children,’ he said.
‘It’s deeply undermining to families and children when they hear this sort of ill-informed comment.’
Labour’s Welsh spokesman Owen Smith said it showed the Tories were ‘out of touch’ with modern Britain.
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'It's insulting and absurd to make a distinction like that': Angela Eagle MP branded David Jones 'deluded'
A recent study showed that children brought up by gay couples suffered no disadvantage (stock image)
‘David Jones’s comments are profoundly
offensive and he should apologise immediately,’ he added. Downing Street
last night said David Cameron rejected Mr Jones’ claims.
‘The Prime Minister believes gay families can provide a warm and loving home for children and has campaigned for more children in care to be adopted, by same sex couples and heterosexual couples,’ said a spokesman for No 10.
Mr Jones was one of two Cabinet members and among the 136 Tory MPs who voted against the Equal Marriage Bill earlier this month.
He claimed his Clwyd West constituents were opposed to same-sex weddings – and to civil partnerships being converted to marriages.
'We're saddened that the Secretary of State for Wales should make such an offensive and inaccurate remark'
Andrew White, director of Stonewall Cymru
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson also rejected the legislation, which was eventually voted through in the House of Commons despite opposition by more than half of his party’s backbenchers, who were allowed a free vote.
In 2011, there were 8,000 same-sex families with dependent children in the UK, of which 5,000 were in a civil partnership and 3,000 cohabiting, according to official figures.
Gay couples have been free to adopt children for a decade and since 2007 it has been unlawful for adoption or fostering services to discriminate against them.
VIDEO: Gay relationship 'not a safe environment to raise children' says Tory MP
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