An amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which would have forced couples already in civil partnerships to have a ceremony in order to be legally considered “married”, was rejected at Report stage.

The amendment, tabled by Lord Elton, which would require a ceremony when converting a civil partnership to a marriage, was rejected by peers late last night during the debate which went on for over nine hours.

Peers rejected Amendment 55 with a majority of 69, with 84 votes to 15.

On discussing the bill, Lord Alli said: “Many same-sex couples will have already had big celebrations when they entered their civil partnerships. They will have had family and friends witness their civil partnerships, and they will have made vows and speeches. For them, I suspect, it was the nearest they probably thought they would get to a marriage and they would not wish to repeat that whole process.”

Before the amendment was voted down, Lord Alli called it an “unnecessary hurdle”.

Lord Elton had previously introduced a similar amendment, but withdrew it, at Committee Stage of the bill.

Also during yesterday’s debate,¬†Baroness Knight compared those opposed to equal marriage to conscientious objectors during the First World War.

As the first day of Report stage went on late into the evening, Baroness Stowell rather comically, and for the second time, used her fictional marriage to actor George Clooney, in order to explain to the House the difference between adultery and unacceptable behaviour.