The eight-year-old daughter of a lesbian couple has written a poignant letter to the cabinet minister David Jones in protest over his claim that gay people could not provide a "warm and safe environment" for raising children.
Mr Jones, the Welsh Secretary, provoked a storm of outrage on Friday when he defended his decision to vote against gay marriage in the Commons earlier this month.
Among the many people who complained about his comments was the child, who lives with her two mothers and younger sister in London.
The letter, written neatly in pencil, tells the Welsh Secretary: "I have been brought up perfectly well … you can be brought up by anyone who will love you and care for you and make sure you're happy."
The girl, whose identity is being protected by The Independent on Sunday at her mother's request, last night said she had been spurred to write to the minister because Mr Jones was condemning "human beings with feelings" with his comments.
"What he was doing was saying that [my mothers] cannot bring me up because they are lesbians, and that isn't right," she told The IoS. "I am perfectly fine. It makes me very angry. That is why I wrote the letter."
Her mother, who also asked to remain anonymous to protect her daughters from being singled out at school, said her eldest child would keep writing to Mr Jones until he replied: "The people who make these kind of comments are not talking about ideas or policies, they are talking about real families with real children with real feelings." The woman posted a picture of the letter on Twitter yesterday before it was sent to Mr Jones. The image was retweeted more than 150 times and she received messages of support, as well as some criticism.
Mr Jones, speaking in an interview with the ITV Wales programme Face to Face, said: "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." Mr Jones also added that he was not "opposed to stable and committed same-sex partnerships".
Putting pencil to paper yesterday, the girl wrote: "I am writing to inform you that I don't agree that children shouldn't be brought up by lesbian or gay people … I have been brought up perfectly well so I don't see any point in you saying that. Me and some of my other friends agree that you can be brought up by anyone who will love you and care for you and make sure you're happy."
A spokesman for Mr Jones said he had not received the letter and so could not yet comment on it. But in a statement made on Friday, when the row erupted, he said he voted against gay marriage because he "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."
Labour's spokesman on Welsh affairs, Owen Smith, yesterday wrote to the Prime Minister to condemn the Welsh Secretary's remarks. Mr Smith said: "It is time for David Cameron to make clear whether he thinks it is unacceptable for the Welsh Secretary to make these comments.
"Once more, it is clear that the nasty party is alive and well under David Cameron and the Conservatives are totally out of touch with modern Britain."
A little girl writes...
Dear Mr Jones,
I am writing to inform you that I don't agree that children shouldn't be brought up by lesbian or gay people. My name is [name redacted] and I am a child with lesbian parents. I have got a little sister called [name redacted] for short and I have got two mums, one is called [name redacted] and the other is called [name redacted]. I have been brought up perfectly well so I don't see any point in you saying that. Me and some of my other friends agree that you can be brought up by anyone who will love you and care for you and make sure your [sic] happy. Please write back!