Conservative MPs will be given a free vote on whether to support proposed plans on legalizing gay marriage.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband have all given their full support to allow gay couples to marry.
Yesterday (23 May), Number 10 said the plans were a ‘government commitment’ signifying all ministers to vote in favor of the proposed plans, reported the BBC.
However, by offering a free vote ministers will be able to oppose the plans if they wish.
A free vote means that MPs are allowed to vote as they wish, rather than according to an official line set down by their political party.
The subject of gay marriage in the UK is currently under consultation.
The issue has caused outspoken opposition from some Tory backbenchers, which included Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Paterson who publicly opposed supporting gay marriage in a letter to a constituent.
Which stated: ‘Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage.’
At the Conservative party conference in 2011, David Cameron announced to delegates that: ‘I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.’
The UK government’s consultation on legalizing gay marriage in England and Wales ends on 14 June. Campaigners are urging people to complete the short official survey as a large anti-gay religious lobby has dominated submissions so far. A separate consultation has already been run by the Scottish government, which has also committed to marriage equality and results will be published next month.