By politics.co.uk staff
Britain will give same-sex civil partnerships the same status as marriages by the end of the parliament, Simon Hughes has predicted.
The Liberal Democrat deputy leader, who is not a member of the government, made the suggestion on the Yoosk internet interview website.
"It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010, 2011, for there to be the ability for civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally," he said.
"That's different of course from faith ceremonies which are matters for the faith communities... they have to decide what recognition to give.
"The state ought to give equality. We're halfway there. I think we ought to be able to get there in this parliament."
The coalition government is currently considering whether same-sex couples should be permitted to use religious elements in civil partnership ceremonies.
Civil partnerships between members of the same sex are currently legal but do not have the same status as marriage. If a change in the law was made they would only be permissible in a registry office or other licensed venues.