Yvette Cooper: Now time for parliament to ‘get on’ with legalising equal marriage

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Labour’s Yvette Cooper has welcomed David Cameron’s backing for same-sex religious weddings, but has urged the prime minister to ensure parliament “gets on with it”.

Ms Cooper, who is the party’s shadow home secretary and shadow minister for women and equalities, said:

“We have been campaigning for some time for religious organisations who want to celebrate same-sex marriage to be able to do so.

“David Cameron has listened, that is very welcome, but it is important too that parliament gets on with it now.

“I hope David Cameron will not be deterred by opposition within his own party and beyond. We need the government to move forward with an early debate in parliament so the issue doesn’t stall”.

The MP added: “No church or religious organisation should be or will be required to hold same-sex marriages and we would expect that to be set out in the legislation.

Writing exclusively for PinkNews.co.uk in March of this year, Ms Cooper said the government’s plans for equal marriage must also allow faith groups, who want to be able to provide same-sex weddings, the right to do so.

On Friday afternoon, David Cameron reiterated his support for allowing gay couples to have religious marriages, but stressed that churches would not be forced into conducting the ceremonies as part of the government’s policy.  

He also said the opt-out would be “absolutely clear” in the pending legislation.

In September, Labour leader Ed Miliband released an Out4Marriage video and said churches should be given the right to hold same-sex weddings.

Ms Cooper released an Out4Marriage video earlier this year, and her husband shadow chancellor Ed Balls, also did so in May.