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Lords urged to stop gay marriage Bill

An Independent Peer has urged the House of Lords to block controversial plans to allow gay marriage after a bitter battle in the Commons.

Lord Dear demanded that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill should be refused a second reading.

Lord Dear warned that the "ill-considered Bill seeks to overturn centuries of tradition, heedless of public opinion and the views of religious leaders, and blind to the laws of unintended consequences".

Anti-gay marriage protesters outside the Houses of Parliament today. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Lord Dear also warned the Bill could be "counter-productive" in promoting tolerance for homosexual relationships.

"I fear the Bill, should it become law, could well create such opposition to homosexuals in general that the climate of tolerance and acceptance in this country, that we have all championed and supported and seen flourish over the years, could well be set back by decades."

But for the Government, Baroness Stowell of Beeston hailed the legislation as a "force for good" which would strengthen the institution of marriage.

More than 90 peers are due to speak in the debate which is scheduled to continue late into tonight and overspill into tomorrow's business when the crucial second reading vote will be taken.

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