Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband has signed a pledge, backing government plans to legalize gay marriage in the UK.
The Labour party leader has signed the Equality Network’s Equal Marriage Pledge to end the twin legal bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships.
He hopes the move will encourage the government to bring forward legislation which would give married same-sex couples equal legal rights and has joined other MPs, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, in supporting the proposals.
Miliband said: 'Those equalities now have overwhelming public support and are being copied by many countries around the world.
'I strongly agree that gay and lesbian couples should have an equal right to marry and deserve the same recognition from the state and society as anyone else.'
Tom French, Equality Network policy co-ordinator, says the charity is delighted that the leader of the opposition has joined politicians from across the political spectrum to back its campaign.
He said: 'We know that a majority of the public back full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and we now hope that legislation will be brought forward to make equal marriage a reality in modern Britain.'
Miliband's public support comes at a time when same-sex marriage opponents have stepped up their efforts to block the move.
This morning Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that same-sex marriage was a violation of human rights and likened it to legalizing slavery.
The UK government is about to launch its public consultation on the issue.
A similar consultation in Scotland closed on the 9 December, attracting over 70,000 responses, making it the biggest consultation in the history of the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish government are expected to take a decision on whether to move forward with legislation soon.