The House of Lords will vote on the Government’s controversial same-sex marriage Bill on Tuesday, with a result described as “too close to call”.
Crossbench Peer Lord Dear, a former HM Inspector of Constabulary, is leading the opposition to the Bill and said about half of Peers who are speaking during the second reading debate are against gay marriage.
Senior Tory Baroness Warsi, a practising Muslim, refused to steer the proposals through the House of Lords, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
And Lord Luce, who served as a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government, said the issue has been handled in a “careless manner” with “little consultation” and “little thought”.
Last week MPs voted in favour of the legislation but it has now gone to the House of Lords where Peers will debate and vote on the proposals.
So far, about 80 Peers have asked to speak in the debate, which will begin on Monday and run through to Tuesday.
Peers who oppose same-sex marriage include former Home Secretary Lord Waddington, respected member of the Sikh community Lord Singh of Wimbledon, and former Tory Party chairman Michael Ancram (Marquess of Lothian).
Lord Dear said: “This is ill-thought through legislation that is being rushed through”.
“There are some 8,000 further amendments that will be necessary to existing legislation because of this single policy.”
“Of those who said they would speak about half seem to be opposed. I really think the vote will be too close to call.”
Lord Luce said: “You can’t suddenly pounce on the 2,000 year-old institution of marriage after such little consultation and with such little thought.”
“This is all part of the Prime Minister’s ‘modernisation’ of our party, whatever that word is supposed to mean.”
Lord Stoddart, an independent Labour Peer, said the concept of gay marriage is “bogus”, and that many homosexual people “do not want this”.
Even Lord Hodgson, a Tory Peer expected to back the Bill, said the proposals are “divisive” and that the vote looked “very close”.
Last week the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons by 366 to 161, but the Government has been accused of arm-twisting its MPs.