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The House of Commons has backed plans to hold a consultation on the introduction of civil partnerships for straight couples.
MPs overwhelming supported Labour's amendment to the same-sex marriage bill, after the Government reached a deal with Ed Miliband's party to hold the review immediately.
But MPs rejected a separate civil partnerships amendment, tabled by Conservative backbencher Tim Loughton, amid fears Tory rebels would use it to "wreck" the bill itself.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller told MPs the consultation would be held "promptly", but said it would be wrong to risk delaying the legalisation of same-sex marriage by using that bill as a "vehicle" for extending civil partnerships.
“Same-sex couples have waited a very long time indeed for the right to marry, and I think they’ve waited long enough,” the Culture Secretary said.
“Using this Bill as a vehicle for extending civil partnerships risks the progress of the bill, and supporting a review gives us the opportunity to find an informed way forward - something that all sides of the argument can support.”
MPs earlier rejected a proposal which would have allowed registrars to opt out of performing same-sex ceremonies, while an amendment calling for greater protection for teachers to express opposition to gay marriage was withdrawn.
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