With Ed Miliband as Labour leader, two major parties are led by gay marriage advocates

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Members of the the Labour party and affiliated trade unions together with MPs and MEPs have elected Ed Miliband as their new leader. Mr Miliband topped a poll for PinkNews.co.uk of Labour party and affiliated union members earlier this month.

The result means that both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party have leaders who are in favour of full LGBT marriage equality. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Green party have marriage equality as official party policy.

Ed Miliband beat his brother by 50.65 per cent to 49.35 per cent after the votes in favour of Ed Balls, Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham were redistributed. In the first round, Diane Abbott scored 7.42 per cent, Ed Balls 11.79 per cent, Andy Burnham 8.68 per cent, David Miliband 37.78 per cent and Ed Miliband with 34.33 per cent.

Earlier this month, PinkNews.co.uk published a then surprising poll result, showing that Ed Miliband was the overwhelming choice of LGBT members of the Labour party (or affiliated union) for leader of the party with 42 per cent support. Despite the support from four leading lesbian and gay MPs in an open letter to PinkNews.co.uk during the polling period, David Miliband secured the support of just 31 per cent of LGBT party members. Diane Abbott was ranked third with the support of 16 per cent, Andy Burnham seven per cent and Ed Balls last with four per cent.

Gay rights record
Ed Miliband was only elected to the House of Commons in 2005, after the equalisation of the age of consent, the abolition of Section 28 and the Civil Partnerhips Act. But he was able to vote in favour of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulations) in 2007 and against two amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which sought to limit the rights of lesbians to access IVF treatment.

Pledges to the LGBT community
Writing for PinkNews.co.uk last month, Mr Miliband argued that civil partnerships were “not good enough”. He added: “I know that civil partnerships were a major step forward, but I also hear those who want the genuine equality of gay marriage.”

“‘Separate but equal’ is not good enough and 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.”

Mr Miliband also used the editorial to call for an end to the ban on gay men donating blood, an end to LGBT asylum seekers being sent back to countries that persecute LGBT people and for stronger laws against inciting homophobic hatred.

PinkNews.co.uk comment
After PinkNews.co.uk published a poll showing that Ed Miliband was the favourite among LGBT Labour party and affiliated union members, this publication published a leader “Is Ed Miliband the leader to advance LGBT equality in Britain?”. In it, we argued “with the current balance of the House of Commons it will be possible for the Liberal Democrats, Labour party and liberal Conservatives to form a coalition to fight for LGBT rights. There are enough Conservative MPs that if given the opportunity to vote on the issue would support marriage equality and the end of the ban on gay men donating blood (the Government already supports changes to asylum policy). This fight should be led by which ever Miliband becomes leader so they can fix the messy situation left behind by the Government they were key members of and turn nice sounding platitudes into real action.”

We call on Mr Miliband to continue to fight for the LGBT equality changes he pledged as Labour leader.