The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has spoken out in favour of same-sex marriages in churches, revealing that his gay uncle would have liked to have had the right to marry his long-term partner.
In a video for the Out4Marriage campaign group, Balls went further than David Cameron’s proposals to allow same-sex marriage, saying he believed gay couples should be able to marry in a church.
Balls said he was proud of Labour’s record in repealing Section 28, equalising the age of consent and introducing civil partnerships, adding “And now we should go further and say to people regardless of their sexuality, people who want to get married should be able to.”
Speaking of his uncle, Balls said: “Twenty years ago [he] came out in his fifties as gay - and he died, I’m afraid, before he and his long-term partner could have a civil partnership. But actually in our family we would have liked him to have gone further and to have got married. It’s what he would have wanted, I believe.”
Mr Balls said he would not name his late uncle because he wanted to maintain the family’s privacy.
On the subject of same-sex marriages in churches, Balls said “I also believe that somebody who is religious and a churchgoer, if the church community wants it in that church, I think people should be able to get married in church too…I really hope the Government will look at that proposal as well. This is something whose time has come.”
Ed Balls is one of a number of politicians who have come out in favour of gay marriage recently, with Home Secretary Theresa May recording a video for Out4Marriage last week.
While Prime Minister David Cameron says he is in favour of gay marriage, he announced last week that he will give MPs a free vote on the subject to avoid a revolt among Conservative traditionalists on what is considered to be a ‘conscience’ issue.
The move prompted the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to attack Cameron, saying supporting same-sex marriage was not a matter of conscience.