Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Yvette Cooper, says she hopes “David Cameron will show confidence and not allow the equal marriage bill to get sucked into another vortex of bitter Tory wrangling.”
Writing for the Independent, the Labour MP said: “The equal marriage bill is back in the Commons – and it’s about time it got the celebratory fanfare it deserves. So far we’ve heard the shouting from the Tory right. Ministers are gritting their teeth and wishing it was over. The prime minister has gone to ground. Yet this bill is no embarrassment to be rushed through: it is a cause for celebration and I hope MPs across the Commons will feel proud to pass it this week.”
Ms Cooper continued: “Some people object to same-sex marriage because they believe it goes against their faith. I respect their views though I disagree with them. But freedom of religion is protected in the bill so no faith, priest or religious organisation will have to conduct a same-sex marriage.
“Others claim that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman or, as the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, said last week that the marriage of heterosexual couples is being redefined by this bill, too. But how on earth does a gay couple throwing confetti at the registry office change my marriage – or Philip’s? People shouldn’t hide discrimination behind a ‘definition’. Marriage has changed over the centuries – women are no longer treated as their husband’s property and rape in marriage is no longer legal. It needs to change again so that same-sex couples can be equal before the law.”
The Labour MP added: “Nor should we take seriously the argument that this is taking up too much parliamentary time. The government has given MPs 19 days of recess in the last two months alone. The coalition hasn’t put much in the Queen’s Speech and there’s a dearth of parliamentary business.
“Philip Hammond wants to talk about the anger he says the bill has provoked. I want to talk about the happiness.”
She concluded: “So over the next two days I hope we hear people championing and supporting couples who want to get married whatever their gender or sexuality. Let’s hear it for the joy.”
Husband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Ball also released a video in support of the Out4Marriage campaign in May 2012.