Fashion duo Dolce and Gabbana have clarified comments in which they caused widespread offence by speaking out against same-sex families.

During an interview Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said in part: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one… No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”

The pair faced a backlash, with Sir Elton John leading calls for a boycott. 

Sir Elton wrote: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’. And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana”

Now, in a statement given to the Guardian, Dolce was insistent that he does not judge those for starting a family in a “non-traditional way”.

The statement read: “I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions. I’m Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family, made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known… But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. That is the place where I learnt the values of love and family.”

Gabbana added: “It was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love. We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it.”

The pair, once romantically involved, have a combined net worth of over $3.2 billion (£2.16).