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Anti-gay marriage Tory MP tables bill for straight civil partnerships

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A former children’s minister who was accused of trying to “wreck” the government’s same-sex marriage law has tabled a bill for heterosexual civil partnerships.

Tim Loughton was among 128 Conservative MPs to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act for England and Wales at third reading in May last year. 

The MP was accused by Liberal Democrat MP and International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone of trying to derail the legislation ahead of the vote.

He had unsuccessfully pushed for civil partnerships to be an option for heterosexual couples.

But many in Westminster feared the amendment was an attempt to “wreck” the law because it could have delayed its passage beyond the 2015 general election.

In November 2012, Mr Loughton described the Church of England’s marriage service as “a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God”.

Two months’ prior, the MP defended his opposition to equal marriage by saying: “I have also heard from a number of gay people telling me: ‘We don’t need this. We don’t want to go and get married’.”

In December 2013, Mr Loughton described the government’s handling of same-sex marriage as “rather crass and clumsily” executed.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill will receive its second reading vote in the Commons on 17 October.

Mr Loughton’s Private Members’ Bill would simply remove the words “same-sex” from the original 2004 Civil Partnership Act.

In June, the UK Government ruled out extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples, but confirmed same-sex couples in civil partnerships will be able to convert them to marriages from 10 December.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and the British Humanist Society have repeatedly lobbied for the extension of civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.


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