Ed Miliband calls for marriage equality describing civil partnerships as “not good enough”

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

In an exclusive comment column for PinkNews.co.uk, Ed Miliband, who is a contender in the Labour leadership race, has pledged that his party will fight for full marriage equality, an end to homophobic hate speech and better treatment of LGBT asylum seekers.

Mr Miliband is almost neck-and-neck with his brother David in the leadership polls. The other three candidates are Diane Abbott, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham. Shadow foreign secretary David gained the backing of 165 constituency parties, followed by Ed on 148. However, Ed was backed by more union leaders.

When asked about going head-to-head with his brother for the coveted position of Labour leader, Ed reportedly said: “Brotherly love will survive because brotherly love is more important than politics.”

In his article for PinkNews.co.uk, Ed Miliband described the “Separate but equal” status of civil partnerships as “not good enough”, writing “PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry. The cruel consequence of the current compromise is trans people forced to divorce their partners before they could be legally recognised in their new gender. I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”

He also said that he would fight to make incitement to homophobic hate a crime and on the issue of asylum, would speak out for the protection of gay and trans people fleeing abuse and against persecution around the world.

He added that culture had as much a part to play as law in shaping attitudes and that more needed to be done to prevent hate speech in music and “casual homophobia dressed up as entertainment on our screens.”

Mr Miliband concluded that he recognised LGBT people, rather than politicians, were at the frontline in the fight for equality, but that he would continue to stand up for gay and trans people and hoped the community would allow him to fight prejudice alongside them.

Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “It’s a pity that Ed Miliband did not support marriage equality when Labour was in power and could have ended the ban on same-sex marriage. Miliband and all the other Labour leadership contenders, plus Boris Johnson and Margo James, the Tory party vice chair, publicly support marriage equality – why doesn’t Stonewall?

“If gay rights organisations support equality, they should be speaking out publicly against the ban on same-sex civil marriage.”