Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Equalities, Yvette Cooper, has expressed her joy at the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which is now on its way to Royal Assent.

Speaking to PinkNews after the two-hour debate, during which Government amendments were introduced and accepted by MPs, Ms Cooper said she was extremely happy with the result.

She said: “It’s fantastic, the bill is finally through, it’s on its way to royal assent, it’s time to celebrate. This is time to celebrate, not discriminate, is what we’ve been saying throughout.

“It’s really good that it has had really strong support in both the Commons and the Lords, and I hope that we will now get on and enjoy weddings, and enjoy the marriage.”

The bill will now go on to receive Royal Assent, hopefully in the next few days, after which it will be able to become law.

The equal marriage bill was passed in the House of Commons, and as all amendments added in the House of Lords were accepted, it will not be required to go back to the Lords.

Prior to the bill, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the Government would protect those on both sides of the question of the same-sex marriage debate.

The publisher of PinkNews.co.uk and Out4Marriage founder Benjamin Cohen said this evening: “We are delighted that after five years of editorial campaigning and just three years after we received the support of the three main party leaders, Parliament has finally approved same-sex marriage.

“Giving gay couples the right to marry will make Britain a more tolerant, open and welcoming place to live in and significantly increase the life prospects of so many people. It is absolutely fantastic that this change in the law, almost uniquely, was proposed by a Conservative prime minister and his Liberal Democrat Deputy with the support of the Labour party leader. Sometimes politicians can work together for the common good and this is a stunning example of this.”

Writing for PinkNews yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I first talked about this issue on PinkNews over 3 years ago. Back then, I know many of you feared that equal marriage might never happen. The obstacles to us achieving reform seemed insurmountable.

“But we consulted. We debated. And whatever has been said in Parliament since this process began, we know the majority of people in Britain support equal marriage. They see it is right. They say it is fair.”

Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband in a column for PinkNews wrote: “When I first pledged my support for equal marriage – in an article for PinkNews.co.uk during the Labour Party leadership campaign in 2010 – few people would have thought that in less than three years the legalisation would have passed through Parliament. This shows how far we have come as a country in recent years- and is also a tribute to the fantastic campaigning by PinkNews and other groups.

“But we must also remember that the fight for equality is not over. People across the world continue to face discrimination and hatred because of their sexuality. And closer to home too many people suffer bullying and hate crimes because of their sexuality.”