Equal marriage referendum amendment fails to appear in House of Commons

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A promised amendment to the UK’s same-sex marriage bill proposing a public referendum on marriage equality was not tabled in the House of Commons debate today.

A referendum was called for by Conservative MP David Burrowes, who said he would use it as a chance to defeat the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

During an appearance on Daily Politics he was asked by former Tory MP Matthew Parris: “You don’t want a debate, you just want to defeat the measure, don’t you?”

Mr Burrowes replied: “Well, I want both.”

The proposed amendment had also been championed by Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, and a strong and vocal opponent to measures to legalise equal marriage.

Mr Bone said earlier this month that the Government should scrap the bill, as well as cut international aid. He said: ”Those are things that Conservatives want and that’s what UKIP voters want.”

He went on to say that Tories should be allowed to stand as “Conservative and UKIP” candidates, if given an endorsement by Farage’s party.

Referendums on same-sex marriages have historically resulted in losses for the side of equality.

However, WashingtonMaine and Maryland legalised equal marriage in referendums on 6 November 2012.

On the same day, voters in Minnesota also voted ‘no’ on Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as being a union solely between a man and a woman. The state passed equal marriage this month.

Last month Ireland’s Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly in favour of holding a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage.

An amendment to allow humanist marriages to take place was withdrawn earlier in the debate due to concerns it would fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights.