Exclusive: MPs to vote on same-sex marriage bill before Valentine’s Day

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

PinkNews understands that MPs will debate and vote on the government’s equal marriage plans for England and Wales before next month’s Valentine’s Day.

Despite reports over the weekend of David Cameron facing renewed pressure to abandon the policy from backbench Conservative MPs, a senior government source has told PinkNews that a second reading of the government’s proposed equal marriage bill will take place before 14 February 2013.

The government remains on course to introduce its bill this month, with a full debate by MPs and vote expected before parliament goes into recess on Thursday 14 February.

Despite claims that almost half of Tory MPs could vote against the bill, Mr Cameron is likely to secure a majority in the Commons with the support of Labour and Liberal Democrat members.

The bill would then be subjected to the scrutiny of an MP’s committee before making its way back to the Commons for a third reading – at which point it would then enter the House of Lords.

Some Parliamentarians have already predicted that the bill could face difficulty in the upper chamber.

Equal marriage opponent Stuart Jackson MP tweeted in December that it would get “massacred”.

A ComRes poll for the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage last week showed that three quarters of Conservative peers and 67% of cross-bencher peers surveyed said the government should call a halt to its plans to introduce equal marriage.

However, in a sign the government remains determined to get its planned equal marriage legislation on the statute book within this year, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has refused to rule out using the Parliament Act to override the Lords in the event the bill becomes stalled.  

Out4Marriage, the equal marriage campaign group said that it “looks forward with anticipation for the publication of the first draft of the bill and for the opportunity for MPs to finally show whether or not they support equality.”