What marriage means to Clare Balding and Alice Arnold

Feb 6, 2013

'David Cameron will not be vilified for this defining moment,' says Arnold – 'he will be celebrated'

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CLARE BALDING'S significant other, Alice Arnold, has revealed how the two plan to marry in the wake of MPs voting to legalise same-sex unions, saying 'marriage' rather than a 'civil partnership' is crucial to how they see their relationship.

Arnold, a former BBC Radio 4 announcer, tells how she and Balding, the sports and horseracing broadcaster, will "convert" their partnership.

"Most of the people we know refer to us as 'married', they talk about having attended our 'wedding'. We don't though. We never have," she writes in the Daily Telegraph.

She and Balding will marry "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."

Arnold's article highlights how gay couples stand to gain from marriage being available to all. The 50-year-old said the bill going through parliament – which should be cleared by the Lords and made into law later this year – represents a victory for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people everywhere.

She describes how society has moved on since Section 28, introduced in the 1988s under Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, forbade teachers "promoting" homosexuality in schools.

Arnold argues that it led to a generation of gay people growing up without support from adults, with some even killing themselves. "Young people now can grow up to learn that a loving relationship between a same sex couple can be recognised in exactly the same way, it is not something 'other'", she writes.

"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."

Arnold finishes her article quoting JP Floru, who wrote for ConservativeHome saying: "In every country which introduced gay marriage it stopped being an issue the day after." Now, she says, it is the day after.

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