A new ComRes survey of 159 MPs, conducted over the past month, has found overwhelming parliamentary support for the amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, championed by Tim Loughton MP, which would extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples.
The poll found that more than seven in ten MPs from all main parties support extending civil partnerships to opposite sex couples.
A separate public poll suggests support for gay marriage could be affected if the Government's proposals to legalise same sex marriage is not seen to be 'equal' in their treatment of opposite sex couples by failing to extend civil partnerships. The poll found that more than six in ten people who supported legalising same sex marriage said they would support it 'only if couples of the opposite sex also get the right to enter into a civil partnership if they wish'.
Tim Loughton MP, who is backing the amendment to extend civil partnerships, said: "This comprehensive poll clearly shows there is strong cross support to address the inequality that would result from marriage being available to same sex couples if the Bill goes through. Far from being a 'wrecking measure' some of the strongest support for my amendment to extend civil partnerships comes from the biggest supporters of same sex marriage in the Labour and Lib Dem parties. If the Government think it is right to extend marriage to everyone then it has to be right to extend civil partnerships to everyone too. This can only be good for improving stability for many more of the near 3m opposite sex couples who currently choose to cohabit but are in no formally recognised relationship. Giving them the opportunity for the rights and responsibilities that go with civil partnerships has also to be a good thing for more stability for children which is enormously important at a time of rising family breakdown."