Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have all given their reaction to Tuesdays vote in the House of Commons to legalise same-sex marriage.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill went before the House of Commons on Tuesday evening. After a lengthy debate MPs voted in favour of allowing gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales to marry. The bill was passed with 400 MPs in favour and 175 opposed giving the bill a majority of 225.

Following the vote the leaders of the three main political parties gave their reaction. While the majority of Labour MPs supported the bill a small number did vote against it. However, party leader Ed Miliband, a long-term supporter of gay marriage, was proud of the result. “This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain. The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported this change to make sure marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships whoever you love. Equal marriage builds on Labour’s successes in government which include the repeal of Section 28, equalising the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships and changes to the rules governing adoption”

Last year Mr. Miliband recorded a video message for the Out4Marriage campaign in which he outlined his reasons for supporting gay marriage. The politician became one of many, across the political spectrum, to record video messages for Out4Marriage. During Mr. Miliband’s campaign to be leader of the Labour Party he outlined his support for gay marriage making him a popular candidate.

Nick Clegg MP

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg – who is also the Deputy Prime Minister – also welcomed the vote and was also keen to thank Lynne Featherstone, one of his MPs, for her work to make the bill happen. “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain. Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage….The Liberal Democrats have long fought for equal marriage. It is party policy and I am proud that the Liberal Democrats are part of the Coalition Government that are making it happen. I especially want to pay tribute to Lynne Featherstone, whose dedication and tenacity have been critical to making this happen.”

In 2010, in an interview with Pink News, Nick Clegg became the first leader of a major political party, in the UK, to give his support for gay marriage. Not all the Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill but the majority did. A small number voted in favour of the bill but against the time table for its introduction; deputy leader Simon Hughes was amongst those who voted in such a way.

Ed Miliband MP

Meanwhile the Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave his reaction to the vote on Twitter. The leader of the Conservative party described it as “A step forward for our country” but admitted that “strong views exist on both sides”. In all 136 Tory MPs voted against the bill which was lower than predicted; the ring-wing press were hyping that 180 MPs would rebel on the issue. Although the figure was lower than predictions it was also higher than those Tory MPs who voted in favour; 126. The bill did have the support of top Tory names such as George Osborne, Theresa May and William Hague of all of whom penned a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday stating their reasons of support.

[Written by Doug Lambert and Martha Kirkpatrick]

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