Stephen Williams, the openly gay Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, has named same-sex marriage as one “great social reforms of this Parliament” in his humble address welcoming the Queen’s Speech.
Mr Williams, who was selected by the Chief Whip to make the address, has been a long-term supporter of changing the law and served on the public bills committee that has taken the bill through some of its Parliamentary process.
In his speech, Mr Williams said that same-sex marriage is “one of the great social reforms of this Parliament”. He said: “The right of same-sex couples to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other before their family and friends will be a lasting social reform of this Parliament.
“The legislation is brought forward by this coalition Government but supported by Members from all parties around the House.
“Bristol West has three Quaker meeting houses, a Unitarian chapel and a reform synagogue, so the country’s first same-sex marriage may well be in my own constituency—but, personally, I am still waiting for my own Prince Charming so that I may be able to take advantage of this new legal right.”
Mr Williams also joked that his favourite song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA.
Responding to Mr William’s speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “I say to all right honourable and honourable Members that anybody who wants instruction on the reason for the Government’s Bill on same-sex marriage should read the honourable Gentleman’s incredibly moving speech on Second Reading, in which he talked about his teenage years growing up as somebody who was gay in his part of the world.
“He was surely right when he said:’Equality is not something that can be delivered partially—equality is absolute.’ On this side of the House, we second that view.”
David Cameron paid tribunate to Mr William’s campaigning work against homophobia, calling his speech “excellent and courageous” and joked that on a political exchange, Mr Williams was paired up with a Tea Party politician from Alabama who objected to all recognition of same-sex marriage.