DUP leader: Minister was having a ‘bad day’ when he blamed gay parents for child abuse

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has dismissed calls to sack Health Minister Jim Wells, after he claimed children of same-sex couples were more likely to be abused.

Mr Wells – who is a minister for the governing Democratic Unionist Party, made the anti-gay comments during a hustings in South Downs.

Rallying against same-sex marriage and adoption, he said: “The facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship… that a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected.”

He initially refused to apologise for his comments – but later said in a statement: “I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I’m sorry those words were uttered.”

Incredibly, DUP leader Peter Robinson has refused to sack Mr Wells, claiming he has been “under pressure” and wasn’t having a good day.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: On a better day Jim would never have made such a comment.

“He’s been under pressure with his wife in hospital. As soon as he made the comment he knew he should not have said it.

“He has put out a very sincere and fulsome apology and I think people should give him a break.

“It is not our view and never will be our view.”

Presumably, Mr Wells was also having a bad day when he previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” and refused to take part in gay rights debates.

Mr Wells must have also been having a particularly awful week when he blocked PinkNews and a number of PinkNews reporters on Twitter for reporting on his poor gay rights record.

Conservative leader David Cameron has repeatedly failed to rule out a coalition with the DUP, which continues to hold actively anti-gay policies.

However, he said: “I totally disagree with the DUP about this [LGBT] issue and nothing I ever do will go against the values I have about believing in equality and equal rights for gay and lesbian people and I’ve put that, as it were, on the line by supporting equal marriage.

“So I’m never going to change my views about that.”