NI Health Minister: Children with same-sex parents are ‘far more likely’ to be abused

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Jim Wells has claimed that children who are raised by same-sex parents are “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.”

It is the latest in a string of actively homophobic comments from the Minister, who has previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” and refused to take part in gay rights debates.

After PinkNews reported on his poor gay rights following his appointment, Mr Wells blocked PinkNews and a number of PinkNews reporters on Twitter.

Following outrage, Mr Wells initially refused to apologise for his latest comments, insisting they were “misunderstood” – but has since released a statement attempting to walk them back. Mr Wells has never apologised for any of his previous homophobic statements.

He said in a statement today: “I accept that one line of what I said caused offence and deep concern amongst members of the audience and beyond.

“I regret having wrongly made that remark about abuse and I’m sorry those words were uttered. The comment did not reflect my view nor that of my party.

“Within seconds of realising this error, I asked the chairman to let me back in and twice corrected my remarks before the debate moved on.

“This clarification has been confirmed by the journalists present at the event. Partial clips, spin and selective reporting regrettably miss this.

“The neglect or abuse of children is awful and happens in unstable relationships whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

“I make no distinction between anyone who neglects or abuses a child regardless of their sexual orientation. I trust people will accept my explanation and my apology.”

His ‘apology’ comes despite him telling Belfast Live initially: “I stand by my position on gay marriage and I make no apology for it.

“That is why I will be voting no on the matter in the Assembly on Monday.

“However, I believe some of my comments have been misunderstood.

“What I said was that I believe gay marriage undermines the traditional view of marriage, which is between a man and a woman.

“If you undermine marriage as an institution, the outcomes for children on average, in terms of things like educational attainment and health, are much worse.

“I was not attacking the homosexual community, I was attacking their campaign for marriage, which is seeking an end to traditional marriage.

“The homosexual community has civil partnerships and that is more than adequate to deal with their needs.”

His comments have been condemned by other Northern Irish parties.

Watch the clip below: