Labour leader Ed Miliband adds his support to the Out4Marriage campaign to introduce equal marriage rights for gay couples in the UK, saying that Labour believes churches should be given the right to hold same-sex weddings – something which the government is not currently proposing.

In his Out4Marriage video, Ed Miliband said:

“As leader of the Labour party, I’m delighted to add my voice to the campaign for equal marriage. I think whether you are gay or straight, you should be able to signify your commitment, your love with the term ‘marriage’, and so the Labour Party provides its whole hearted support for this campaign.

We will be pushing the government to get on with the process for legislating for equal marriage, and we’ll also be saying to them, where faith groups want to provide that opportunity for gay couples as well as straight couples, they should be able to do so.

This is a very, very important campaign, we’ve come a long way on gay and lesbian rights in the last two decades: civil partnerships, age of consent, a range of other things. But I know there’s further to go. I know that equal marriage is a very, very important part of ensuring equality before the law, the equality in our culture which is so important, and such a sign of us being a modern country and the kind of country I believe in.

So I add my support to your campaign, I’m Out4Marriage.”

Commenting on the Labour leader’s intervention, Benjamin Cohen of the Out4Marriage campaign said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ed Miliband to the Out4Marriage campaign and in particular we welcome Mr Miliband’s commitment that the Labour party will fight for gay couples to have the right to marry in churches, synagogues and other religious institutions.

Mr Cohen added: “There are many gay people of faith and there are many faith groups that embrace gay people, it’s only right for faith groups that wish to conduct same-sex marriages to be allowed to do so under law.”

The Out4Marriage video is Mr Miliband’s first major public comment on the issue of same-sex marriage since the 2010 Labour leadership election when he pledged his support for the issue in a column for PinkNews.co.uk.

At the time he wrote: “’Separate but equal’ is not good enough and PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry. I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”

Ed Miliband joins fellow Labour politicians Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Jack Straw in recording a video for the Out4Marriage campaign. Other contributors include Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Home Secretary Theresa May, the actor Hugh Grant, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, the singer Paloma Faith, girl band The Saturdays, the Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson and Liberal Judaism Rabbi Ariel Friedlander.