Lib Dems expected to back gay marriage

By staff

The Liberal Democrats are expected to vote to support gay marriage at their party conference, opening up another potential division with the Conservatives.

The motion will advocate civil partnerships being converted into full marriage. It builds on the coalitions pre-existing commitment to allowing religious establishments to hold civil partnership ceremonies.

The motion, which is almost certain to be supported, could open up a can of worms with right-wing Tory backbenchers, but it will substantiate the argument that the Lib Dems are making an impact in government.

The result of the vote will come just before Simon Hughes’ keynote speech and reflects his goal of establishing a distinct identity for the Lib Dems in coalition.

The deputy party leader, who is bisexual, is intent on reversing the party’s slide in the polls by highlighting its policy victories while maintaining warm relations with its coalition partners.

During the election campaign, Nick Clegg told “I support gay marriage. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same too. All couples should be able to make that commitment to one another.”