An amendment by equal marriage opponent Lord Hylton that suggested the word “union” is strong enough to describe the bond between gay couples has now been withdrawn from being included in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Peers resumed debate of the bill on Monday afternoon as part of its committee stage.

For page 1 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill Lord Hylton’s amendment stated: “leave out ‘Marriage’ and insert ‘Union’”.

Baroness Williams, one of the most senior figures in the Liberal Democrats, announced her support for Lord Hylton’s amendment during Monday’s debate.

She argued that, as well as biological differences, men and women approach relationships differently – making opposite-sex couples the most “stable” parents.

She said: “Equality is not the same as sameness”.

Earlier this month, Lord Hylton, a crossbench hereditary peer, said in the Upper Chamber: “I regret very much that the fine old English and French word ‘gay’ has, in my lifetime, been appropriated by a small but vocal minority of the population.”

“The result is that it can no longer be used in its original and rather delightful meaning.”

He added: “Now, under the pretext of securing equality, Her Majesty’s Government are proposing to change the meaning of marriage.”