Comment: Equal marriage is a logical, gentle and momentous step, writes Lynne Featherstone

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It’s the issue everyone’s talking about.

The consultation on equal civil marriage has generated strong opinions and prompted discussion and debate around the country – at bus stops, in pubs, at work and at home.

It has engaged the public in a way that few Government consultations do because it strikes at the very heart of the kind of society we want Britain to be.

With just under a week to go before it closes, it’s more important than ever you tell us what you think. We will be listening to all views and continuing to reassure those who fear change that our proposals strengthen and celebrate marriage rather than threaten it.

Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have and a powerful symbol of a society where people care about each other.

Society is stronger when people enter into a stable relationship; when they commit to each other; when they make binding vows to love, honour and cherish one another. If people in a same-sex relationship love each other, it makes no sense to stop them marrying. The current barrier to marriage perpetuates discrimination.

What’s been so interesting about the debate we are having as a nation is that some of the most passionate support for our proposals has come from the most unexpected places.

The issue has crossed political and cultural divides. I think it’s also significant that it has become far more than an issue of ‘gay rights’. Those who have ‘come Out4Marriage’ have done so for a variety of reasons. Some because they value the principles of family and commitment, some because they champion personal freedoms, others because they simply recognise the current situation as unfair.

This is actually a logical, gentle step, with momentous meaning.

I think Britain is ready for this change. If you believe it, tell us by 14 June.