Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:12 pm on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Emma Reynolds Emma Reynolds Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 4:12 pm, 5th February 2013

I hope that one day, we will live in a truly equal society in which there is little or no discrimination. I do not believe that that is a utopian dream. I believe that it is a possibility, but we have a very long way to go. The introduction of equal marriage and the Bill before us are an indispensable step in the journey towards that equal society.

It is disturbing to reflect—as many hon. Members have in this debate—on how the law used to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality. Until 46 years ago, it was a crime for a man to have sex with another man. Until 12 years ago, it was illegal for lesbian and gay people to serve in the military. The time when homophobia was incredibly and worryingly widespread is within the living memory of each and every right hon. and hon. Member of this House.