Prime Minister David Cameron is giving his MPs a free vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Tuesday, which will also allow civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without having to end their union.
The free vote on the bill's second reading on Tuesday will avoid a technical rebellion, though the high numbers expected to oppose or abstain from within his party will still prove an embarrassment for the Prime Minister.
Strong Liberal Democrat and Labour support means the Bill, however, will comfortably reach its next stage.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey insisted the vote would not tear the Tory party apart, and claimed internal divisions over the issue were "good-natured".
More top news
Emily Middlemas has been kicked out in the X Factor semi-finals - leaving 5 After Midnight, Saara Aalto and Matt Terry through to the finals
Prince Harry has visited a children's home founded by the controversial religious sect known as the Moonies during his tour of the Caribbean
Cloud continues rolling in from the west overnight which, combined with fresher winds will keep temperatures above freezing here.