Jim Wells has issued a late night statement defending comments he made a South Down hustings event earlier on Thursday evening.
His remarks about child abuse caused a storm of criticism on social media after a video clip was posted online.
In the statement, he said: “During a debate in South Down this evening I refused to agree with an audience member that marriage should be redefined.
“I oppose the redefinition of marriage. Indeed the Assembly has voted three times on this matter and every time a cross party selection of MLAs have supported the current definition of marriage.
“At the hustings event, I said that marriage was a stable environment to raise children. I am saddened that some people were trying to misrepresent my comments.
“Where there are non-stable relationships involving children, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the children suffer. I make no distinction between anyone who neglects a child on the basis of their sexual orientation.”