Peers voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favour of equal marriage, following an attempt by Lord Dear to have the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill thrown out. Lord Dear's motion was rejected by a majority of 242 peers. The Bill now proceeds to Committee Stage in the House of Lords.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights group Stonewall said: "We're absolutely delighted. We always expected a tough challenge in the House of Lords, and Lord Dear's "fatal motion" - very rarely used - demonstrates the lengths to which a minority of peers are, sadly, still prepared to go to deny full equality to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
"In the last 24 hours alone, opponents of equality in the House of Lords have compared loving, committed relationships to incest and polygamy. Britain's 3.7 million gay people don't deserve to be second class citizens in their own country. A tough fight lies ahead and we'll continue to work tirelessly every single day to get equal marriage through the Lords."
The proposed legislation would introduce civil marriage for same sex couples, and enable religious organisations to opt in to conduct same sex marriages if they wish to do so. The Bill includes provisions intended to protect religious organisations and individuals from being forced to conduct same sex marriages.
The Bill would also enable civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and would enable married transsexual people to gain legal recognition in their acquired gender without having to end their marriage.