Welsh Secretary David Jones has claimed in a controversial interview that gay couples ‘clearly’ cannot raise children.
The Conservative MP, who voted against marriage equality plans on 5 February, said gays are unable to provide a ‘warm and safe environment’.
Speaking on ITV Wales’ Face To Face programme, he said: ‘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.’
Jones denied he was homophobic, insisting he had ‘people in my life who are important to me who are gay’.
However the shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith attacked the comments as evidence the ‘nasty party is alive and well under David Cameron’.
He said: ‘That such views exist in the heart of the Tory cabinet provides yet more evidence of how out of touch the Tories are with modern Britain, and how David Cameron’s claim to have changed his party is, like so many of his promises, nothing more than empty words
‘David Jones’ comments are profoundly offensive and he should apologize immediately.’
Andrew White, director of Wales-based gay rights charity Stonewall Cymru, said he was ‘deeply saddened’ the Secretary of State for Wales should make such an ‘offensive and inaccurate remark’.
‘It’s deeply undermining to families and children when they hear this sort of ill-informed comment,’ he said.