The hon. Gentleman suggests that the Liberals might have introduced it, but that is stretching credulity too far because we would have to have a Liberal Democrat Government in the first place.
I am proud of the Labour Government's progressive record. To be honest, it is without peer in Europe. They abolished clause 28, introduced an equal age of consent and used the Parliament Act to enforce it. They legislated for joint adoption by gay couples, outlawed workforce discrimination and brought in a new category of homophobic hate crimes. The Government should be congratulated on that.
In the end, the Bill is about recognising a simple fact of life. It is not about setting up a new lifestyle, as Mr. Howarth claimed. It is not about persuading people to be gay or lesbian. It is not about proliferating homosexuality because, in truth, homosexuality is not something that we can proliferate. It is not something that we can be persuaded into. It is not an illness that we can catch. It is not a cancer that we can have excised. For roughly one in 10 people in this land it is simply a fact of life that they have to come to terms with. Now, at last—thank God—the law will recognise the fact of loving homosexual relationships. The whole of the UK will come to terms with a world in which two men or two women can love one another and make a commitment to one another, for richer and for poorer.