“I chose to support the same-sex marriage bill on a free vote. Marriage is an important statement of love and long term commitment, and has long been the main way that the state recognises and shows support for loving relationships. I believe that couples who love each other and want to make that long-term commitment to each other should be able to marry, regardless of their gender or their sexuality. Same sex couples should have the same recognition from the state as everyone else.
I am proud that Labour made huge progress on equality over 13 years in Government. As well as introducing civil partnerships, Labour created an equal age of consent, ended the ban on gay people serving in our armed forces, increased sentences for hate crimes and outlawed discrimination in goods and services.
Freedom of religion is extremely important, and I appreciate that some people and religious groups take a different view on gay marriage, so it is right that the proposed ‘quad lock’ in the bill will ensure that no religious organisation or individual minister will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages against their explicit wishes.”