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Marriage proposals tomorrow

Marriage proposals tomorrow

David Cameron today insisted there would be a "big majority" of MPs voting for same-sex marriage, despite fierce opposition from some of his own backbenchers.

Equalities Minister Maria Miller told MPs  the Government would be bringing forwards its proposals tomorrow.

However she would not say whether the legislation would include allowing religious groups to hold same-sex ceremonies, telling Labour MP Lilian Greenwood she would "have to wait and see".

Earlier Mr Cameron said: "I believe it will be passed and passed with a big majority because I think the time for this has come."

At the same time, the Prime Minister said that he would not be pressurising Tory rebels to support the Government's proposals:

Ms Miller also told MPs the Government had had legal advice that there was a "negligible" risk of a legal challenge to the legislation through either British or European courts. She said there were "clear protections" for religious institutions and "the rulings in European case law have put this matter, we believe, beyond doubt".

Tory backbencher Edward Leigh, who asked an Urgent Question on the issue in the Commons, said the Government had "no right to redefine people's marriages".

The Prime Minister made clear he was relaxed about how his MPs voted on the issue.

"I won't be whipping people or pressurising people this is a matter for Parliament and I think we just have to be grown up and accept that in a modern political party sometimes you will have issues of conscience where people will vote in different ways," he told a press gallery lunch.

Former prime minister Sir John Major last night became the latest senior Tory to express support for allowing churches to carry out same-sex weddings, saying it was "a courageous and genuine attempt to offer security and comfort" to gay couples.

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