Neanderthal Tories grunted with despair as the gay marriage Bill looked set to clear a major Commons hurdle last night.
David Cameron's Tory Party ripped itself apart as the Bill headed for a second reading thanks to overwhelming support among Labour MPs.
Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper urged Parliament to spread some happiness and support loving same-sex couples who wanted to get married.
"Gay and lesbian couples have been locked out of too much for too long," she declared. "Let's be on the right side of history."
A large pack of Tory backbenchers fought against the Bill, alongside a sprinkling of Labour opponents.
Tory MP Nadine Dorries complained that the Bill said nothing about faithfulness between a gay couple, and contained no requirement for consummation of a marriage.
"If I were a gay couple," she told the house, "I would see this as a shoddy Bill in which we are not regarded as equal with heterosexual couples."
Thanet Tory Roger Gale denounced the measure as "Alice in Wonderland Territory, Orwellian almost."
Marriage was historically a union between a man and a women, and it was "not possible" to redefine it, he said.
Labour MP Robert Flello won Tory cheers when he declared: "I'm amazed that the government should bring forward this Bill at a time when there are other pressing issues."
However, Christian Labour MP Toby Perkins backed the measure, arguing that "Jesus Christ absolutely led the way in terms of promoting equalities."
Jesus had been there "sticking up for groups that have been oppressed," he said.
Veteran Labour MP David Winnick made a prediction based on his personal experience of voting for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 against a "great deal of opposition."
He believed there was now "hardly a single member who would wish to return to the situation that existed prior to the 1967 Bill."
He added: "Is it not possible that in a few years, if this Bill is passed, it will be fully accepted just like the 1967 Act?"
Culture Secretary Maria Miller told the house: "This Bill is about one thing. It is about fairness."
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill enables religious organisations to choose to conduct same-sex marriages but prevents them from being "forced" to do so.
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