Hollywood actor Colin Farrell has suggested that gay and lesbian couples make better parents than their heterosexual counterparts.

Farrell appeared via satellite from Los Angeles on RTE's Claire Byrne Live to discuss an upcoming referendum on marriage equality in his home country of Ireland.

The 38-year-old actor spoke of the bullying his brother Eamon faced growing up in Ireland and his “incredibly successful” marriage.

“He went to Vancouver and they got married and they've been happily married for six years, maybe seven years. They have an incredibly successful marriage,” Farrell said. “And to think they had to leave their own country to do that is sad and disappointing and just grossly unfair, I feel.”

When host Claire Byrne noted that opponents claim that allowing gay couples to marry hurts children, Farrell said it was the other way around, that the children of gay couples suffer when their parents cannot legally marry.

“Without same-sex marriage being legalized … it's the children that are going to be left in the dark, if there's a separation. It's the children who won't have the equal rights as the children of straight couples who are married. So, the children are actually going to suffer.”

“Guess what? There's a hell of a lot of unsuccessful marriages between men and women. There's a hell of a lot of children who have to experience day to day the arguments, the bickering, the domestic violence between their parents.”

“This is a demographic of society – gay, lesbian, transgender – who have been pilloried and who have been ostracized, who have been polarized, excluded for so long that when they get the chance to experience marriage or … parenthood, it has been kept [from] them for so long, and it is a God-given human right, and it's too easy for heterosexuals to be parents, if you want the truth.”

“There are too many of us who find it too easy to have a kid that we don't put the care and attention into planning what the implications of that might be and the responsibilities that that might hold. And too many parents around the world don't parent their kids because it was a five-minute thing and a thing and there it is,” the single father of two added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Ireland's marriage referendum will take place in May.

(Related: 90 percent of Irish adults under 24 support gay marriage.)