Ed Balls: Labour ‘paved the way’ for same-sex marriage

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Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has praised the party’s record on civil partnerships.

In a speech yesterday dedicated to setting out Labour’s stall on the economy, the shadow frontbencher made a brief reference to the 2004 reform.

Mr Balls said: “We – Labour – introduced civil partnerships and paved the way this year for our country’s first ever same-sex marriages.”

He went on to say: “So we can be proud of many things we did.”

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

The MP said he was inspired to support marriage equality by his late uncle, who came out as gay in his fifties.

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

Speaking to PinkNews in July, Labour’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair said same-sex marriage “was probably one of the few times” when the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour have “agreed on anything.” 

Mr Blair suggested in March, with hindsight, that it might have been possible to have achieved marriage equality during his time in office.

He said: “I don’t know looking back whether it might have been possible to have gone that way [for same-sex marriage] right at the beginning, but at the time it seemed like a very big step – and indeed was.”