With the House of Lords about to pass the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he never thought progress would be made “so quickly” after making his 2010 equal marriage pledge to PinkNews in a question and answer session.
Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk on Monday morning at a visit of the judging committee for the Gay Games in south-west London, the Liberal Democrat leader said: “I’m really so delighted we have made so much progress so quickly, I didn’t anticipate three and half years ago when I first started campaigning in favour of the bill that we would be standing literally on the verge of having the bill become an Act of Parliament this week… of course it’s been… it’s come about in a blaze of controversy [and] I think that was probably always going to be inevitable – my own sense is once the bill is actually on the Statue Book and once you start seeing same-sex marriages up and down the country – as I hope we see as quickly as possible – then I think actually people will look back on it and think ‘what was all the fuss about’, very quickly it will seem entirely normal.”
When asked if it was a positive achievement that equal marriage for England and Wales was being introduced under a Conservative prime minister and done in partnership between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, Mr Clegg told PinkNews.co.uk: “Well I think it is a really good thing that this has now finally escaped the strictures of one party somehow trying to get one over on the other party that actually there seems to be – not withstanding some very vociferous objections within the Conservative Party – [and] some deep splits within the Conservative Party – none the less [there is] plenty of people in all parties who want to see this change happen and think that is right that we make sure that people who love each other regardless of their gender, regardless of their sexuality can express that love through marriage.”
Mr Clegg agreed with last month’s remarks of Prime Minister David Cameron of the reform benefiting young LGBT people. “I think it is a very significant step, but I think it’s only one of many steps that we need to take to make sure that particularly young gay men and women feel that they are a rightful part of society, participating in every single event every walk of life on an equal basis as much as everybody else, that’s the kind of liberal society that I believe in where everybody is free to express themselves, is free to live out their lives how they want regardless of who they are.”