The House of Commons debate about same-sex marriage was courteous, comprehensive and largely respectful. So it should be. The Bill before MPs represented a historic social change. And the conclusion reached was the right one: everyone must be treated equally before the law. The idea that sexual orientation should disbar some individuals from marriage was an outdated anomaly. History will adjudge the vote to be not just right but inevitable.
That said, the advance has not been politically easy. Although a decisive majority of the population are in favour of the reform, a significant minority of Conservative MPs fought hard against it. By insisting on pressing ahead in the teeth of such opposition, the Prime Minister has been accused of fiddling while Rome burns. Instead he should be congratulated on his clear judgement, his common decency and his leading from the front.
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