Drawing a line under accusations the government is backtracking on plans to allow gay couples to marry, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has become the most senior politician yet to join the Out4Marriage campaign.
May is the senior minister responsible for equality and the government’s consultation on how to introduce same-sex civil marriages is headed by the Home Office.
In her Out4Marriage video released today May said: ‘More and more people today are coming Out4Marriage and I'm listening to that, but I recognize that there are strong views on both sides of this argument. And I need to listen to all of those views, and that's why the government is consulting on this issue.
‘But today, I wanted to tell you about my own views. I believe in marriage. I believe marriage is a really important institution, it's one of the most important institutions we have. Marriage binds us together, it brings stability, I think marriage makes us stronger. But I believe also in commitment and in fidelity in marriage, I think these are good things and we should enable them to flourish.
‘That's why I believe if two people care for each other, if they love each other, if they want to commit to each other and spend the rest of their lives together then they should be able to get married and that marriage should be for everyone, and that's why I'm coming Out4Marriage.’
The government is urging LGBT people and their friends and families to add their voice to the official consultation where responses have so far been dominated by the religious right.
Out4Marriage allows politicians, celebrities, religious leaders and members of the public to record YouTube videos explaining why they support changing the law to allow gay couples to marry.
The campaign was launched after a YouTube film, Homecoming, featuring a gay marriage proposal between a solider and his boyfriend was viewed more than 700,000 times in a week.
Mike Buonaiuto of Out4Marriage.org said: ‘Theresa May today has made clear her own personal commitment for the government to bring forward legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry.
‘As the minister responsible for conducting the public consultation on the issue, we are grateful that she has reaffirmed her belief that marriage for all couples is important and had leant her very significant backing to the Out4Marriage campaign.
‘We look forward to working with the Home Secretary and the government as a whole to ensure that the final legal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people is removed from the statute book.
‘We are equally delighted that in just a two weeks, Out4Marriage has gained support from senior Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour and Green politicians.’
May joins high profile supporters of Out4Marriage including Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, girl group The Saturdays, Britain's Got Talent judge David Walliams, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Advertising Standards Authority chairman Lord Chris Smith, Lib Dem Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone and senior Liberal Judaism Rabbi Ariel Friedlander.
Watch May’s video here: