The presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has declared his opposition to gay adoption in an interview in yesterday’s New York Times.

He has been criticised by leading gay equality groups Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the Family Equality Council.

Senator John McCain said in the interview:

“I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption.”

Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG, said:

“We are disappointed and saddened that a public leader who is himself an adoptive father would deny the children in America’s foster care system the opportunity to thrive as part of a welcoming family.

“Love makes a family, but short-sighted positions like Senator McCain’s can certainly tear families apart, too.

“In a country where more than 125,000 children are waiting for foster parents, Senator McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like.”

The Family Equality Council, an LGBT families equality group, said:

“These are the facts about American families.

“According to the 2000 census, the vast majority-more than 75%-of American households differ in structure from two married, heterosexual parents and their biological children.

“We are a nation of blended and multi-generational families, adoptive and foster families, and families headed by single parents, divorced parents, unmarried parents, same-sex couples and more.

“As an adoptive parent himself, McCain should be well aware of this.

“As a Presidential candidate, he should seek to honour and support the many kinds of families that exist, rather than dismiss the vast majority of households in this country as second-tier.”

The Family Equality Council said that the American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers, have all issued statements supporting same-sex parents.

The American Psychological Association has stated: “Gay and lesbian parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide healthy and supportive environments for their children.”