Gay marriage bill: Lords to debate ‘wrecking amendment’

A “wrecking amendment” which seeks to derail the gay marriage bill will be debated in the House of Lords later.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales would allow couples, who can currently form civil partnerships, to marry. Religious organisations would have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

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Ministers believe that allowing same-sex couples to marry will strengthen marriage as an institution.

Last week, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned same-sex marriage would set a “dangerous precedent” which could lead to sibling marriage or polygamy. In an article for think tank Civitas, he said did not want to be “alarmist”, but said it could logically be extended to “say, two sisters bringing up children together” or “multiple relationships, such as two women and one man”.

“Ultimately, the proposed legalisation of same-sex marriage represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of marriage,” he said.

Mr Cameron hopes the bill will become law soon and that the first ceremonies can take place by next summer.

The Scottish government has confirmed it will introduce a bill shortly to allow same-sex marriage.

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