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Peter Robinson: Jim's comments were neither his nor party's views

Writing exclusively for the Belfast Telegraph, First Minister Peter Robinson says Jim Wells was wrong to say children are more at risk if brought up by same sex couples - and that the DUP has gay and lesbian supporters too...

Published 25/04/2015

Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson

On a better day Jim would never have made such a comment. He has been under incredible pressure in the last number of months with his wife being ill in hospital.

He has dedicated himself to running a very sizable Department during the day and sitting by Grace's bedside at night.

As soon as Jim uttered those words, he knew he had said the wrong thing.

He got the attention of the chairman to try and rectify the comment.

He was not pushed by anyone to clarify his comments, rather he sought to correct them immediately.

Within hours of the event ending, Jim released a heartfelt apology.

As Jim has said, those comments were neither his view nor the view of the Party. Indeed, they never will be the view of the party. We fully support single-parent families.

I know the excellent job that is done by single parents trying to keep a family and provide a loving household.

There is no attempt by Jim or anyone else to make any disparaging comment about those who effectively are heroines and heroes every day in our province.

There are gay and lesbian supporters of the DUP and there are DUP supporters who have family who are gay.

We must always be understanding of these issues and recognise the diversity of our society.

The DUP doesn't believe in the redefinition of marriage and alongside MLAs from other parties we will oppose this in the Assembly.

There are civil partnerships which provide legal protections for those of the same sex who want to live together.

However, I don't believe marriage should be redefined because marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Jim would not have wanted to offend anyone. He immediately sought to put his comments right.

However, the damage has been done and Jim regrets it.

He has attempted to make it clear that he is genuinely sorry. He has done the right thing by voluntarily and swiftly apologising for the remarks.

Further reading

Health Minister Jim Wells apologises for comments linking gay marriage and abuse  


Pressure grows on Jim Wells to quit after remarks linking gays to child abuse  

PSNI probes Jim Wells' gay abuse comments  

David Cameron: I will never validate the DUP's stance on gay rights and LGBT issues

Crass comments damage reputation of Health Minister Jim Wells  

Health Minister Jim Wells: Wife Grace is back from the brink  

Gay adoption: It is 'natural order' for a man and a woman to have a child, says Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots

Call for clarity after DUP man's 'make homosexuality illegal' comments

Parents hit out at Edwin Poots over gay adoption ban

New Year Honours: DUP politician Maurice Mills who blamed Hurricane Katrina on gay people awarded MBE by Queen  

First Minister Peter Robinson backs wife's view that gays are an 'abomination'

Iris Robinson: gays more vile than child abusers

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