Tory Cabinet Member says same-sex couples can’t provide “safe and warm” environment for raising children

15th February, 2013 11:16 am

Last night, Tory Secretary of State for Wales David Jones was on ITV Wales show “Face to Face” where he was asked why he opposed Equal Marriage. Jones told the interviewer:

“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.”

Here’s the video of Jones’s vile remarks:

Update: We’ve spoken to Labour’s Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith, who said:

“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, like so many of his promises, nothing more than empty words. David Jones’ comments are profoundly offensive and he should apologise immediately.”

Update: We’ve just been sent what it seems is David Jones’s response to the furore he’s caused:

“I was asked on the Face to Face programme why I voted against the same sex marriage proposals.  I replied that I had done so on the basis that I took the view that marriage is an institution that has developed over the centuries so as to provide a safe and warm environment for the upbringing of children. I made the point of stressing that I was fully supportive of committed same sex relationships.  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 children, the institution of marriage was one that, in my opinion, should be reserved to opposite sex partners.”
He can try as hard as he likes to wriggle out of this. We know what he said. He argued that same sex couples can’t provide “a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children” – he hasn’t denied using those words. Because he can’t. (Update: A reader contacts us to note that Jones says he’s not against same sex adoption, but he doesn’t say he’s for it…)
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  • As much as this comment is absolutely vile… I do wonder what he said afterwards and how he qualified it. Hope Labourlist haven’t selectively edited it.

  • cari_esky5

    It’ll be down to same sex couples with children to prove him wrong and prove him wrong they will.

  • This is simply a very bizarre comment, that goes against my experience. I mean, he cannot empirically prove his assertion.

    Again, this shows the heart of the Tories to be ultimately suspicious of anything different (witness also the attack on immigrants by Cameron at the moment).

  • kb32904

    And they wonder why they can’t shift the nasty party tag….

  • The removal of discrimination in fostering, adoption, etc took place a while ago so this is a red herring in any case. What a load of absolute nonsense. Does he know any same-sex parents?

  • Hugh

    Doesn’t it seem possible, in fact likely from the video, that he was simply intending to trot out the standard objection that marriage is for the procreation and upbringing of children, but phrased it badly?

    • Hugh

      And it seems form the update that this is the case: ” I simply sought to point out that, since same sex partners could not biologically procreate children, the institution of marriage was one that, in my opinion, should be reserved to opposite sex partners.”

      • I’m sure my parents – who adopted me and my sister – would be delighted to hear that judgment. They couldn’t biologically procreate children. Incidentally, I’m gay, my sister a heterosexual mother of four. So much for that theory as well….

        • Hugh

          I’m sure they wouldn’t, but they probably wouldn’t be delighted by the same remark that has been made many times by many others in the course of the same sex marriage debate without attracting any particular controversy.

        • Hugh

          I’m sure they wouldn’t, but they probably wouldn’t be delighted by the same remark that has been made many times by many others in the course of the same sex marriage debate without attracting any particular controversy.

    • Dave Postles

      ‘the standard objection that marriage is for the procreation and upbringing of children’
      It may be the ‘standard response’ of some people (and I do not attribute it to you), but it is pretty insensitive and causes resentment amongst those many happy couples who married for love, but did not wish to procreate for a variety of reasons (not least, I’ve been a kid and I know what little bastards they can be.). In our case, a same-sex couple would certainly have brought the kids up better than we would.

      • Hugh

        It may cause resentment, but it’s plainly not the same “vile remark” he’s been criticised for, is it? And it’s not a particular unusual remark.

      • Hugh

        It may cause resentment, but it’s plainly not the same “vile remark” he’s been criticised for, is it? And it’s not a particular unusual remark.

    • Brumanuensis

      Entirely possible. He’s still a twit though.

  • “since same sex partners could not biologically procreate children”

    By implication, Mark Jones must also be against ‘straight’ marriage for childless couples or for couples who need IVF. But that he would be in favour of marriage for a bisexual person who might have children from a previous relationship?

    This is unfortunately where people like him tie themselves in knots. And he also hasn’t clarified exactly what is “unsafe” about a same-sex couple bringing up children. That’s the bit that really stinks here. Clearly right now, a same-sex couple can bring up children outside a marriage, so does he regard that as “unsafe”?

  • JoeDM

    Seems a sensible statement. Kids will be better off being brought up in a stable normal marrage. What on earth is wrong with that?

    • The implication that a same sex marriage would be abnormal and less stable than a heterosexual marriage perhaps?

    • Not that it should ever be needed, but evidence has shown that kids brought up by same-sex parents turn out fine (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/6574238/Lesbians-make-better-parents-says-senior-parenting-official.html). Also, since gay adoption and IVF are already legal and are settled law, trying to use child-rearing and the stability of marriage as arguments *against* marriage equality is fairly ridiculous – if anything it logically follows that if we allow same-sex parenting then we must also allow same-sex marriage.

    • Brumanuensis

      Define ‘normal’.

      And as Elliot has pointed out, if there are no observable differences between outcomes for children brought up by same-sex parents, relative to opposite-sex parents, then what underpins David Jones’s comments?

      • Alexwilliamz

        Prejudice?

    • On that basis, you’d presumably therefore want two same-sex couples to marry, if they had children, to ensure that their family bond was tight and formal and to give those kids a “stable” marriage. Sounds rather like you’re in favour of same-sex marriage then?

  • Yeah, I’m sure a same sex couple raising a child would be a lot more disastrous than the people down the road who have eight kids just so they can get child support benefits while they sell pot. :I

  • JC

    So what’s the line from the labour members who voted against it? Be careful what you ask for. They might be even more embarrassing.

  • Alexwilliamz

    That is the crux really. Surely the state should be supporting families in whatever form. Should there rather not be a debate over whether there is a social good in encouraging some kind of legal contract between two people who are romantically linked?

  • Gerry Leddy

    I have just emailed Mr Jones to see if like me, he is anxiously waiting to see if the outcome of the Derby fire deaths trial proves his hypothesis marriage = warm and safe environment .

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