A senior source in Downing Street has told the Daily Mail that Prime Minister David Cameron is to fast-track legislation to introduce equal marriage within weeks.
The paper’s front page carries an exclusive in which it claims David Cameron and Nick Clegg have agreed to “fast-track” the policy bringing it before parliament in the New Year.
The government has consistently said that it will reveal its response to the equal civil marriage consultation within the next few weeks but it has not been clear when it is likely to introduce legislation to make the marriage of a gay couple legal in England and Wales.
A senior source told the Daily Mail: “The prime minister and the deputy prime minister have agreed to get on with it. It was in danger of slipping beyond the general election.
“David Cameron’s view of this is: “get it done and get it done quickly”. If we are going to do this it’s better to make it happen rather than have it hanging. If people want to commit to each other, he believes that’s a foundation of a stable society.”
PinkNews.co.uk understands that a planning meeting of a new Conservative Party led campaign for equal marriage will be held later today (Wednesday).
Previously, the government had said that same-sex civil marriages would be legalised at some point before the next general election in 2015.
Among the issues to be resolved in a response to the consultation is whether to allow religious institutions to hold same-sex marriages if they wish to.
The original Home Office proposals did not allow for them but David Cameron told campaigners from Out4Marriage that he supported letting churches and synagogues decide for themselves. While his deputy, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: “I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage.”
A recent poll by Comres, who regularly polls for the anti-gay equality Coalition for Marriage, found that 34% of 2010 Conservative voters said they would not vote Tory again if Mr Cameron fulfills his pledge of introducing equal marriage.
The Conservative Party promised to review the issue of same-sex marriage and make changes to the law if necessary in its equalities manifesto for the 2010 general election, the only party to do so.