Tory Welsh Secretary David Jones responds to gay parenting row

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Welsh Secretary David Jones has responded to criticism by Stonewall Cymru over his views on same-sex parents.

Earlier, the gay rights charity’s director, Andrew White, said remarks expressed by the Conservative cabinet minister in a Thursday night interview broadcast on ITV Wales were “offensive and inaccurate”.

Labour’s shadow equalities minister Kate Green branded Mr Jones’ remarks “hugely insulting, offensive and wrong”.

When asked on why he had voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on 5 February, the Conservative MP said: “I was one of two cabinet ministers who did vote against it and it was for various reasons. Certainly in constituency terms, I felt that overwhelmingly the constituents of Clwyd West were opposed to the change.

“But also 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.”

In response, Andrew White said: “We’re saddened that the Secretary of State for Wales should make such an offensive and inaccurate remark. There are many different types of family in Wales today, including many same-sex couples raising children. It’s deeply undermining to families and children when they hear this sort of ill-informed comment.”

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Mr Jones said:

I was asked on the Face to Face programme why I voted against the same-sex marriage proposals. I replied that I had done so on the basis that I took the view that marriage is an institution that has developed over the centuries so as to provide a safe and warm environment for the upbringing of children.

I made the point of stressing that I was fully supportive of committed same-sex relationships. I also strongly approve of civil partnerships.

I did not say in the interview that same-sex partners should not adopt children and that is not my view.

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.