Ed Balls: I’m really pleased David Cameron is introducing same-sex marriage and I think it’s brave

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Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has praised Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to equal marriage, ahead of today’s vote by MPs on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Speaking on ITV1’s The Agenda with Tom Bradby, Mr Balls talked about the prime minister’s motives and said: “I’m really pleased he’s doing it… it’s not clear why from a Conservative Party point of view he’s chosen to do this – the economy’s in a mess, we’re on a jobs plan and he’s chosen this issue, but in 50 years’ time we’ll look back and say did we really have a debate where we said your sexuality will decide whether you could get married or not… because the more we move forward we’ll look back and say of course it’s the case if marriage is a celebration then you should be able to celebrate that whatever kind of marriage you have.”

Asked if he admired David Cameron for proposing same-sex marriage, Mr Balls said:

“Yes I do actually. I think it’s brave and he’s divided his party in quite a deep way… My uncle came out as gay in his late fifties. When it happened in our family there was quite a lot of surprise, quite a lot of shock but he died before this law will ever be on the statute book or even civil partnership. I would like to think in this generation he would have got married to his long term loving partner and we could have all gone to the party and it would have been fabulous.”

Mr Balls released a video message in support of the Out4Marriage campaign in May 2012.

Mr Balls’ wife, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, also released a video for the Out4Marriage campaign in the same year.

Yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband urged his party’s MPs to give strong backing for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.