United Kingdom

British Conservatives Rebelling Against Cameron Over Gay Marriage

Some Conservative Members of Parliament may introduce an amendment extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples, thereby delaying a bill that would legalize gay marriage

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David Cameron, British prime minister, is facing deepening splits within his Conservative Party, with a divisive bill to legalise gay marriage returning to parliament.

The bill was approved by a comfortable 225-vote majority when it was last debated in February despite the opposition of almost half of Conservative lawmakers.

But dozens of disgruntled Conservative MPs are expected to deliver a blow to Cameron's agenda by backing an amendment saying that if gay couples are allowed to marry, then heterosexual couples should also be able to have civil partnerships.

The government said it was a "wrecking amendment" which could delay the passing of the gay marriage bill by up to two years and cost $6bn in pension changes.