Tory MP: Gay couples can’t provide safe environment for children

By Tony Hudson

A Conservative Cabinet member is facing a significant backlash against his comments on gay marriage today.

David Jones, Welsh secretary, revealed his vote against the marriage (same sex couples) bill was motivated by his regard for marriage as an institution "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".

Jones denied accusations of homophobia and insisted he did not mean the comments as a slight against same-sex couples.

"I made the point of stressing that I was fully supportive of committed same-sex relationships. I also strongly approve of civil partnerships", he said in a statement after the interview.

The statement does not seem to have placated his detractors, as Labour's shadow equalities minister Kate Green called the remarks "hugely insulting, offensive and wrong", while shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith called for Jones to apologise for his "profoundly offensive" comments.

Jones was also taken to task by Stonewall Cymru director Andrew White, who said it was "deeply undermining to families and children when they hear this sort of ill-informed comment", before adding that polls show the Welsh secretary was out of touch with the majority of people in the UK.

The comments come just over a week after the House of Commons voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.