'The Government's controversial same-sex marriage legislation is being driven by an EU proposal which is set to become law later this year, say UKIP.
"Many people have been asking what prompted the Prime Minister to pick this uncalled-for fight with many people in his own party and the country at large," said UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
"It has also been unclear why the same debate is being had simultaneously in other countries such as France, where opposition is also growing. Now we know the answer."
An EU report due to be voted through the EU Parliament this November would see all marriages and civil contracts conducted in any EU country become legally binding in all other member states. Under the Berlinguer Report, a couple who are not permitted to marry in their home country could travel to another member state in order to wed, knowing that on their return home they would have to be regarded as married.
Paragraph 40 of the Report would mean that any member state would have to grant 'all social benefits and other legal effects' such as legal recognition, tax breaks and benefit entitlements to a married couple, even if such a marriage did not exist in their own legal system.
Mr Farage said: "Now we know why David Cameron has launched this highly contentious and disruptive legislation, apparently out of the blue.
"If a couple were to marry in Belgium, Spain, Portugal or Sweden where same-sex marriage is possible, the EU will say that they have to be given the same legal rights in whichever member state they then chose to live – even if that state itself opposes the introduction of same-sex marriage. In essence the Berlinguer Report seeks to establish an EU-wide right to same-sex marriage.
"It's no surprise that the Prime Minister has kept quiet about this, even at the expense of cohesion in his own party. He has a hard enough time trying to force his own backbenchers to swallow both his dedication to keeping Britain in the EU and his wish for the state to interfere in the definiton of marriage. To suggest that the two issues are in fact interconnected would have caused complete uproar."
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