Clare Balding’s partner Alice Arnold has said the couple plan to marry after the gay marriage bill was passed last night.
Arnold, a broadcaster who entered into a civil partnership with Balding in 2006, said: “We will [get married] because we don’t want our relationship to exist in inverted commas. That one word MARRIED is crucial because it defines our relationship. The way we see ourselves and the way we wish others to see us.”
Rebutting some of the arguments made by MPs last night that marriage should only be between heterosexual couples, Arnold said: “The church does not own the institution of marriage. It is a civil right. Two thirds of couples do not get married in a church and if marriage is based on the procreation of children then why was it important to Prince Charles and Camilla, or indeed anybody over childbearing age.”
Writing in The Telegraph, she also argued against the idea that legalising gay marriage will “undermine” the institution of marriage. “Gay people do not seek to devalue marriage we seek to celebrate it. We want to play our role in society, we want to feel accepted and included. We want to contribute and most of all we want to be equal.”
Arnold spoke about the atmosphere of “fear and misunderstanding” surrounding Clause 28 introduced by Margaret Thatcher, saying “young people took their own lives as a result and we all have to live with that,” but hailed last night’s vote.
“I believe we will look back on last night as a defining moment when we broke through a wall of inequality and prejudice. David Cameron will not be vilified for this...he will be celebrated," she said.
“In an article on the Conservative Home website J P Floru says: 'In every country which introduced gay marriage it stopped being an issue the day after.'
“This is the day after.”