Eric Pickles says his opposition to gay marriage was 'narrow-minded' and 'prejudiced'

'The idea that people who have got a stable relationship can't adopt... is utterly anathema to me'

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The Independent Online

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has said he was “narrow-minded” and “prejudiced” to have opposed gay marriage in the past.

The senior Tory politician spoke to LBC Radio about his change in stance on the issue of same-sex marriage, stating that he performed a “180-degree” turn on the matter after he spoke with friends and constituents.

He said that he originally voted against gay marriage and adoption laws in the UK, but that he now saw such a stance as “anathema”.

"The idea that people who have got a stable relationship can't adopt – there are plenty of kids in the world who require good parents – seems to be utterly anathema to me," he said.

When asked what changed his mind, he replied, "Simply friends. Going to people's houses, seeing a stable couple together, seeing constituents who wanted to have a proper legally-recognised relationship.

"I just thought: you can't be so mean, you can't be so narrow-minded, you can't be so prejudiced."

Pickles was critical of the designers Domenico Dolce and Stephano Gabbana, who stated that children born by IVF are "synthetic". This prompted Sir Elton John to launch a boycott of their products.  

However, Pickles did not agree with John's call for a boycott.

"You can’t replace one piece of hate with another piece of hate," as well as admitting he has never and will never own a piece of D&G clothing.

A number of Conservative MPs opposed David Cameron’s successful passing of same-sex marriage in 2013.