There is strong support amongst Peers for the Government to shelve plans to redefine marriage, according to a new poll.
Almost six out of ten members of the House of Lords said the Coalition should postpone legalising same-sex marriage until it becomes clearer whether the majority of the public are in favour.
Equalities Minister Maria Miller revealed last month that just under 53 per cent of responses to the consultation on gay marriage supported the proposals.
But that figure discounts the views of 500,000 opponents whose names and addresses were submitted as part of the consultation process.
The ComRes poll, carried out for campaign group Coalition for Marriage, found that 56 per cent of Peers agreed with the statement that the Government should “not proceed” with the changes if the consultation does not show “broad support”.
Coalition for Marriage campaign director Colin Hart said ordinary people do not want marriage to be redefined.
He said: “Mr Cameron should realise that trying to ram through this policy in a desperate bid to appear trendy and progressive is not fooling anyone.”
He added: “Ordinary people want him to stop meddling with the institution of marriage and get on with fixing Britain’s flatlining economy.
“If Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg believe this policy is both the right thing to do and popular why do they not trust the British people and let them have their say?” he said.
The same-sex marriage Bill is due to be voted on in the House of Commons in a matter of weeks.
Those likely to oppose the move include more than 130 Tory MPs.
And this latest poll will boost hope that the Bill will be defeated in the Lords.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Director of Public Affairs, said in an interview for Radio 4 that they expect a “struggle” in the House of Lords.
But Labour Leader in the Lords Janet Royall dismissed this on Twitter, claiming that the vote by Peers will not really “pose a huge problem.”