Culture Secretary Maria Miller has praised the decision of Parliament to pass the same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales and says it is a “tremendous achievement.”
There will also be a review into whether humanists should be allowed to carry out marriages, while ministers said they were prepared to look at eliminating any difference in the treatment of same-sex couples when it came to pension provision.
Maria Miller, who is also the Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “The completion of the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill through Parliament, undefeated in all aspects, is a tremendous achievement. Whilst this legislation may be about marriage, its impact is so much wider. Making marriage available to all couples demonstrates our society’s respect for all individuals regardless of their sexuality. It demonstrates the importance we attach to being able to live freely. It says so much about the society that we are and the society that we want to live in.”
She added: “The institution of marriage underpins our society and over the years, as society has evolved, so has marriage and in my view the extension of marriage to same-sex couples is part of this. Ultimately if two people love each other then they should be able to demonstrate their commitment to each other through marriage. This is a historic moment that will resonate in many people’s lives – and I am proud that we have made it happen.”
The bill is set to receive Royal Assent before the end of the week.
Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk after Tuesday’s Commons debate, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Equalities, Yvette Cooper, said she was extremely happy with the result.
“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.”
On Monday, Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he never thought progress would be made “so quickly” after making his 2010 equal marriage pledge to PinkNews in a question and answer session.