Former Radio 4 presenter Alice Arnold has spoken of her plans to marry her civil partner, TV presenter and journalist Clare Balding, in the wake of the House of Commons vote on equal marriage.

Ms Arnold wrote in the Telegraph, “Neither of us has made any secret of the fact that we would get married if the law allowed, every newspaper has reported it,” wrote Ms Arnold. “We will do it because we don’t want our relationship to exist in inverted commas. That one word MARRIED is crucial because it defines our relationship. The way we see ourselves and the way we wish others to see us.”

She argued that equal marriage would benefit gay people throughout society, even if they don’t choose to get married themselves.

“[A]ttitudes change laws and laws change attitudes,” she said. “Clause 28 introduced by Mrs Thatcher, produced an atmosphere of fear and misunderstanding. No one was ever prosecuted but teachers were afraid to mention homosexuality lest they might be.

“A generation grew up without support in their schools or clubs. For those that felt they may be gay there was a culture of pervading shame.”

“Children are not born with prejudice, it is society that nurtures it. Young people now can grow up to learn that a loving relationship between a same sex couple can be recognised in exactly the same way, it is not something ‘other’.”

She responded to religious arguments that had been made in the House of Commons, which had included ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’, saying “The church does not own the institution of marriage. It is a civil right.”

Ms Arnold left the BBC in December 2012 and said she was now free to “sound off” about her support for equal marriage.