15 July 2015
- From the sectionNorthern Ireland
DUP politician Jim Wells has launched a bid to clear his name after he was accused of linking child abuse and gay relationships.
He resigned as health minister after a tape from a hustings event in Downpatrick in April was made public.
In the tape, he said: “You don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That a child is far more likely to be abused and neglected.”
The minister was then interrupted by uproar from the audience.
In a later statement, he said: “I accept that one line of what I said caused offence and deep concern.”
But he told BBC NI’s Nolan Show on Wednesday that the tape was wrong in that it had been cut short and his meaning had been misconstrued.
“I want to clear my name. I want people to know that I did not say what that tape suggests,” he said.
“This tape totally misrepresented what I said in the live (session).
“The tape links my views on gay adoption and my views as to what happens to children in controversial and angry divorces.
“Had the tape gone on another two minutes we would not be having this discussion.”
Mr Wells told presenter Enda McClafferty that he only realised this when he got a complete transcript of what he had actually said at a later date.
“The tape that went out across the world stopped before I was able to explain what I meant,” he said.
“I did not say that homosexuals abused children.”
“I did say I was opposed to gay marriage, which I am.
“But then I go on to make the argument that when marriages break up – in either a heterosexual or homosexual relationship – if a marriage is in high conflict, this is almost invariably to the detriment of the child.”
Mr Wells said he felt “humiliated” by what had happened.
A police investigation is ongoing.
Editorial: We have previously reported on this story, but now we ask you to make your own mind up – which side of the story do you believe, Mr Wells’ current interpretation or the recording? Comment and let us know.