London, Sept. 16: When actor Rupert Everett came out of the closet more than 20 years ago, he was heralded as a champion of gay rights. Now he has caused upset by ridiculing the idea of homosexual parents.
“I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads,” Everett has said during an interview.
It is a remark likely to offend couples such as Elton John and David Furnish who in 2011 were shortlisted for the title of celebrity dad of the year.
Gay rights campaigners have accused Everett of echoing the views of homophobes who criticise same-sex marriage.
The 53-year-old actor has previously attacked the idea of gays having babies through a surrogate as “egocentric and vain” in an online interview but this is his first attack on the ability of homosexuals to be good parents.
Everett, who played a gay man who made Madonna pregnant during a drunken one-night stand in the film The Next Big Thing, adds in the interview that he imagines his mother Sara, who has met his boyfriend, “still wishes I had a wife and kid”.
His mother, who was also interviewed, agreed: “He’s so good with children. He’d make a wonderful father.”
The army major’s son, who is starring as Oscar Wilde in the play, The Judas Kiss, has said in the past that if he wanted to be a parent he would adopt or foster.
There are an increasing number of homes with same-sex parents — in some American states it is now almost 1 per cent of the total — and certain studies suggest their children fare better than those born to heterosexual couples.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, a gay and lesbian pressure group, said: “Rupert should get out a little bit more to see the facts for himself. There is absolutely no evidence that the kids of gay parents suffer in the way they are being brought up or in how they develop.”
John and Furnish — parents by a surrogate mother to Zachary, who will be two on Christmas Day — did not respond immediately to Everett’s remarks.