I rise briefly to support Tim Loughton and to commend all those who have ensured that the Bill has reached this point. On civil partnerships, I want to mention just briefly my constituents Charles Keidan and Rebecca Steinfeld, who fought a four-year battle through the courts, ending with a magnificent victory in the Supreme Court this summer that was absolutely clear, unequivocal and unanimous in telling the Government to get on with making this change.
The hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham has pursued these matters to a head, as he always does, without fear or favour, including with his Front-Bench colleagues. I also mention everybody at the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign and all those thousands of couples who are waiting, with bated breath, to be able to cement their relationships. The measure also has the potential to affect millions of couples who do not have rights in this country but often think that they do. I also thank those who have over many years supported same-sex civil partnerships and marriage, including Peter Tatchell and Stonewall, for continuing to support equality.
I hope that the Minister will take back to the Government the message sent by all those voices, and by those on both sides of the Chamber, that we really have waited long enough. Given that the Government did not oppose new clause 1, I hope they will develop a sense of urgency. They have been urged to act by the highest court in the land and by many people. This significant change in public policy will allow millions of co-habiting couples across the country to secure the rights that, as I have said, many of them believe they already have but then often find, to their financial and other costs, that they do not. I say to the Minister: please, get on with it.