This evening, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has Tweeted that same-sex marriage is something that English and Welsh people should be proud of.
Mr Cameron posted: “After a long parliamentary process gay marriage became law tonight – something I believe we can be proud of as a country.”
The long parliamentary process that Mr Cameron referred to was fractious with many Conservative MPs voting against his proposals. More Conservative peers voted in favour of same-sex marriage than voted against it.
In April 2010, David Cameron, answering a personal plea for equal marriage from a PinkNews reader in a pre-election Q&A said: “I want to do everything I can to support commitment and I’m open to changing things further to guarantee equality”. He later committed to consider the case for changing the law if the Conservatives formed a government.
Writing last month, David Cameron argued: “There will be girls and boys in school today who are worried about being bullied and concerned about what society thinks of them because they are gay or lesbian. By making this change they will be able to see that Parliament believes their love is worth the same as anyone else’s love and that we believe in equality. I think this will enable them to stand that bit taller, be that bit more confident and I am proud of that.”
The Prime Minister, who backed commitment between same-sex couples in his first party conference speech as Conservative leader in a 2005 speech said in 2011: “I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman.
“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.
“And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.
“So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”
This afternoon the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act became law after receiving Royal Assent. The government has promised that same-sex couples will be able to marry by next summer at the latest.