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UK: Backbench Tories call for same-sex marriage referendum

March 25, 2013
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It’s emerged that earlier this month Conservative MPs Tim Loughton and David Burrowes called for a same-sex marriage referendum to be held on the same day as the 2015 general election.

Both MPs are staunch opponents of plans to introduce marriage rights for same-sex couples in England and Wales.

Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, and Mr Burrowes have urged David Cameron to delay implementation of the policy, which is on course to happen later this year.

The MPs both sit on the Public Bill Committee of the House of Commons, which has been scrutinising the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

The bill completed its committee stage on 12 March 2013 and is due to have its report stage and third reading by MPs on a date to be announced.

In February, David Burrowes accused PinkNews of “fomenting hostility”, and “abuse” against equal marriage opponents, as the committee received testimony from PinkNews and Out4Marriage founder, Benjamin Cohen.

Mr Loughton, Mr Burrowes and the DUP MP Jim Shannon proposed an amendment that called for the reform to be put before a referendum in England and Wales on 7 May 2015 – the same date as the next general election.

It specified the referendum must be held no later than 1 June 2016 and the proposed question stated: “At present, the law in England and Wales defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Should the law be changed to define marriage as the union of two people—whether a man and a woman, or woman and a woman, or a man and a man?”.

However, the amendment failed to be taken up by the rest of committee.

On 5 February MPs voted 400 to 175 in supporting the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – a majority of 225 votes – following an afternoon of heated debate in the House of Commons.

In 2012, former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe called for a same-sex marriage referendum, saying the measure would fail in a public vote.

More: conservative mps, david burrowes, England, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay weddings, House of Commons, marriage, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, marriage equality, public bill committee, same sex marriage, same sex weddings, Tim Loughton, tory mps, UK Marriage Bill, Wales

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