Gay marriage plans have been backed by MPs - with Sussex representatives split on the issue.

Politicians from across the country spent this afternoon debating a bill to allow same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies.

After a lengthy debate which lasted all afternoon, MPs passed the agreement onto the next stage of the law-making process.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the legislation for England and Wales would create a "fairer place to live" but insisted that religions which objected to the plans would not be forced to conduct same-sex ceremonies.

She claimed it was "simply inconceivable" that the European Court of Human Rights would unpick the Government's "quadruple lock" aimed at protecting religions who did not wish to opt-in to the proposals.

The Commons voted by 400 to 175, majority 225, to give the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill a second reading.

In a late intervention just two hours before MPs voted, the Prime Minister made a televised statement to say the move was about "making our society stronger".

But the debate heard from a number of prominent Tory critics of the proposals who argued they undermined marriage, would alienate voters and could damage the party's election prospects.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “While the Conservative catfight over the vote will fade into insignificance, the momentous occasion on which MPs were given the chance to stand up for equality in marriage will be remembered for many years to come.

“However, while I'll be voting for equal marriage, I'll also be calling for more far reaching reform to allow everyone - same sex and opposite sex couples - to enjoy a civil partnership or marriage, as they choose.

“This is a question of equal love. It's not about asking for special treatment for gay couples or straight couples, it's about everyone enjoying the same rights regardless of their sexuality.”

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