Welsh Secretary David Jones
Welsh Secretary David Jones (Wales Office)

Welsh Secretary David Jones has come under fire for saying same-sex couples cannot provide a safe environment for children.

Jones explained on ITV's Face to Face why he had opposed gay marriage in the recent vote at Westminster.

He said: "I was one of two cabinet ministers who did vote against it and it was for various reasons.

"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."

Presenter Adrian Masters asked Jones what he thought about being called homophobic

"I don't' think I've been accused of being homophobic," he replied. "I've got a lot of people in my life who are very important to me who are gay."

Jones also said his Christian faith was part of the reason why he decided to vote against gay marriage.

He reiterated his viewpoint after the programme.

"I made the point of stressing that I was fully supportive of committed same-sex relationships," he said. "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, the institution of marriage was one that should be reserved for opposite-sex partners."

Gay campaign group Stonewall Cymru said it was disappointed by Jones's comments.

Andrew White, charity director, 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, including many same-sex couples raising children.

"It's deeply undermining to families and children when they hear this sort of ill-informed comment."

He added that Jones' views on gay couples raising children were "out of touch".

Owen Smith, shadow Welsh Secretary, told LabourList: "These comments reveal that the nasty party is alive and well under David Cameron.

"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 nothing more than empty words. David Jones's comments are profoundly offensive and he should apologise immediately."